India, with KL Rahul's ton on debut, outplayed Zimbabwe in the first of the three-match ODI series at Harare Sports Club, winning the game by nine wickets on Saturday. India will be keen to clinch the series with another win in the second ODI on Monday.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will look for a comeback and take the series to a decider, which will make matters interesting. However, given the way India dominated Zimbabwe in the first ODI, one wonders how this African side can defeat MS Dhoni's team, who will be a confident unit after that comprehensive win.
Dhoni has never been a big fan of making major changes in the squad, but it remains to be seen if interim coach Sanjay Bangar and the skipper decide to make some changes. One has to remember that the team does not have senior players, as the BCCI has used this series to test its bench strength.
Karun Nair, a consistent domestic performer, was handed a cap in the first ODI, but scored only seven runs. If the thinktank decides to drop Nair, specialist opener Faiz Fazal might get a nod.
Besides this change, Dhoni might play the same XI that took on Zimbabwe in the first ODI. After a splendid effort by the bowlers, there is no need for any change in that department.
Dhoni and his team will consider this match important, as a victory in the second ODI could open the doors for other players to be tested in the third match.
However, that cannot be said for Zimbabwe, who might make some changes in their batting. Vusi Sibanda could open the innings with Chamu Chibhabha, which means PJ Moor can be dropped. This will also open the door for Sean Williams, who can also roll his arm over, to provide some balance to the the team as well.
Williams' inclusion will also strengthen Zimbabwe's bowling unit while the rest of the bowlers might be the same, but they need to come with a better performance, and look to take early wickets.
Likely playing XI: India: KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c, wk), Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Barinder Sran, Yuzvendra Chahal
Zimbabwe: Chamu Chibhabha, Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza Craig Ervine, Richmond Mutumbani (w),Graeme Cremer (c), Taurai Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara