The final game of the series was also heading to India until Raza (115 from 95 balls) brought Zimbabwe back into the competition with support from Brad Evans (28 from 36).
As it happened: India v Zimbabwe, 3rd ODI
The pair shared a 104-on-77 showdown for the eighth wicket to raise hopes for a memorable result against their mighty opponents. However, Raza came across a brilliant take on Shubman Gill in the penultimate, as India forged its way.
It was Gill who had set up the game for India as he hit his first international cent to take the visitors to 289 for eight. Zimbabwe’s innings ended at 276 in 49.3 overs.
Gill (130 on 97 balls), who hit a career milestone more than three years after making his India debut, shared a 140-carry stand with Ichan Kishan (50 of 61) after the visitors decided to strike for the first time in the series.
It is that of the final ODI. A tight game, but it’s #TeamIndia winning by 13 points and winning the series 3-0… https://t.co/zesTC5zi7J
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1661181880000
Sean Williams (45 of 46) and Raza played bold shots early in the Zimbabwe chase.
Deepak Chahar again impressed with the new ball while left-arm spinner Axar Patel got some welcome wickets down the middle.
Chahar got his first wicket with a booming inswinger as Innocent Kaia (6) was trapped as he charged the wicket. The Indians were convinced that the full ball had hit the pad first and went for a review which proved successful.
His opening partner Takudzwanashe Kaitano (13 of 22), who returned to the locker room with leg pain, came back in the middle but not for long. Spinner India Kuldeep Yadav lured him forward with a poor UN which left the Zimbabwean perplexed.
Shubman Gill scored a splendid 130 and is our best player in the first innings 👏 A look at his batting resume… https://t.co/jr1svGY8I5
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1661166499000
Although Zimbabwe continued to steadily lose wickets, the seasoned Raza stayed strong before finishing his third hundred in the last six innings.
The crowd got more involved when Raza smashed Shardul Thakur for three fours in the 39th, it ultimately gave 20 points.
The Indian bowlers were found insufficient, with Raza and Evans collecting the limits at will. In the end, the hosts fell terribly short.
Going to bat for the first time in the series, India didn’t have the smoothest starts as they struggled to 63 for one of 15 overs.
The two seasoned openers – skipper KL Rahul (30 of 46) and Shikhar Dhawan (40 of 68) – would be disappointed if they could not convert their starts.
Coming back from a long injury break, Rahul had a perfect opportunity to get back into the groove ahead of the T20 Asian Cup. He played a length ball from medium pace Brad Evans which ended up taking five wickets for the first time.
The first hour proved tricky for the hitters here, but with so much experience under their belts, Dhawan and Rahul should have kept going big.
Other than the stand between Gill and Kishan, little stood out from the Indian innings.
Gill, who made his ODI return with the series against West Indies, was a feast for the eyes during his innings which included 15 fours and a six. The 22-year-old played shots all around, with his forehands and coverage shots standing out.
Gill had a few jittery moments in the 90s before hitting the milestone.
Evans appealed for a tight leg before the appeal, but DRS was denied after UltraEdge showed the ball hit Gill’s bat before hitting the pads. On the same ball however, Kishan was exhausted at the other end after leaving his crease for a quick single, but Gill was concerned about the call.