When Alan Butcher was appointed coach of Zimbabwe in February his task appeared a thankless one. Four months on and he seems to be doing something right after his charges returned a second successive one-day international win over India. His brief is to prepare the country for a return to Test cricket – provisionally scheduled for later this year – and while one-day games can swing in a moment, the convincing manner of both Zimbabwe's wins can only raise hopes.
Having chased down a target of 286 on Friday, yesterday they produced a convincing win by six wickets and with all of 11 overs and four balls to spare. Having restricted India to 194 for 9 at the Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe earned victory on the back of another fine opening partnership between Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor. The pair put on 88 on Friday and yesterday bettered that with 128 in good time before Taylor, playing in his 100th ODI at the age of 24, fell for 74. Masakadza made 66.
India's innings was painfully slow going – they managed only 44 runs from the final 10 overs. Following their poor showing in the World Twenty20, it is another embarrassing setback for Indian cricket – albeit for an experimental squad – amid growing concern over the state of the much-vaunted IPL.