Harare: India made it four ODI series wins in a row with a seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday by taking an unassailable 3-0 win in the contest with two matches to go. The win was their fourth in succession following the triangular victory in the West Indies, the ICC Champions Trophy title in England before that and a bilateral win over England at home in January.
This impressive run of form continues India's upswing in fortunes in 2013, which started with a 2-1 ODI series loss to Pakistan. In 2012, India failed to make the final of the triangular CB Series in Australia or the Asia Cup that followed in Bangladesh, and only had a 4-1 ODI series win over Sri Lanka to show.
After being embarrassed by England in a Test series at home, India drubbed the tourists in the succeeding ODI series. Since losing the final match of that series in Dharamsala on January 27, India have lost just two ODIs out of 14 - the first two of the West Indies tri-series. However, they regrouped to win that series and have now gone 3-0 up over Zimbabwe.
The win over Zimbabwe was their fourth in succession following the victory in the West Indies, the ICC Champions Trophy and a bilateral win over England in January.
India's longest winning streak in ODIs is between August 2008 and September 2009, when they claimed six consecutive series: over Sri Lanka (3-2), England (5-0), Sri Lanka (4-1), New Zealand (3-1), West Indies (2-1) and the tri-series Compaq Cup in Sri Lanka.
This is the second time an Indian team has won four series in a row. Between May and August 2007 India beat Bangladesh (2-0), Ireland (1-0), South Africa (2-1) and Scotland (1-0). But considering how weak the opposition was across those seven matches, barring South Africa, this run of form in 2013 clearly counts for a lot more. By winning in England, India achieved the rare double of being World Cup and Champions Trophy holders simultaneously.
While this low-key series was always in India's favour considering an inexperienced Zimbabwe have not played international cricket for ten weeks, if Virat Kohli's side goes on to use the next two matches to test their bench strength it would be a good indicator of how the reserves are.
India's next ODI assignment is a seven-match series at home against Australia in October-November.