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Zimbabwe vs India: KL Rahul returns to lead India in three-match ODIs

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The Indian cricket team will take on Zimbabwe in a three-match ODI series starting Thursday, August 18th.

The series will see India return to play 50-overs cricket in the country after six years. Last time around, the Indian team led by MS Dhoni recorded a 3-0 whitewash result.

With the Asia Cup 2022 beginning next week, senior players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are rested, while KL Rahul, Deepak Chahar, Shahbaz Ahmed and Kuldeep Yadav return to the team.

Rahul, in particular, will take over captaincy duties for the limited overs series from Shikhar Dhawan, who will be his deputy now.

Meanwhile, hosts Zimbabwe are in positive spirits as they recently sealed a 2-1 series win over Bangladesh. This was the team’s first bilateral ODI series victory over a Test-playing nation since the 3-2 win over Sri Lanka in 2017.

The three-match Zimbabwe vs India ODI series will be part of the ongoing ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League.

Here are some talking points ahead of the ODI series:

India’s dominance in head-to-head

India maintains a massive advantage over Zimbabwe in ODIs, winning 51 of the 63 head-to-head clashes. Zimbabwe, in turn, have claimed 10 victories with their last success against India coming in 2010 at Harare.

Furthermore, India have won their last 12 ODI meetings against Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe in momentum

Zimbabwe’s 2-1 ODI series win over Bangladesh came as a timely injection of confidence for the team that last secured a home series win in 2015-16.

The form of Sikandar Raza (252 runs in ODI series vs Bangladesh) and Richard Ngarava (14 wickets in his last 10 ODIs) could aid Zimbabwe’s push to pick up an ODI win against India.

Players to watch out

Shubman Gill will likely open the batting alongside Shikhar Dhawan in the Zimbabwe vs India ODI series. The 22-year-old batter was one of the standout players against the West Indies, amassing 205 runs at an average of 102.50. Confident knocks against Zimbabwe would bolster Gill’s chances of a permanent selection in India’s ODI squads.

For Zimbabwe, Luke Jongwe will be tasked with grabbing quick wickets against India. With Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani out injured, Jongwe - with 35 ODI scalps in 31 games - will be keen to test the resilience of the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and India captain KL Rahul.

The Zimbabwe vs India ODI series will be played at the Harare Sports Club. The first ODI will begin at 12:45 PM IST on Thursday, August 18th.