(representatinal image) Rajesh Chauhan was once part of the Indian team.Reuters

India, riding on skipper Virat Kohli's well-crafted century, thrashed hosts Zimbabwe by six wickets in the first one day international (ODI) of the five-match bilateral series at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.

Chasing a total of 228, India crossed the target in 44.5 overs with the fall of four wickets. Kohli scored 115 while Ambati Rayudu scored 63.

After putting in to bat first, Zimbabwe started on a convincing note with an impressive opening partnership of 71 between Sikandar Raza and Vusi Sibanda. Sikandar scored 82 (six fours and a six) and Sibanda 34, giving a ray of hope to the hosts but the failure of the middle order let them down.

It looked like Zimbabwe would settle for a small total at one point of time with wickets of Sean Williams, Hamilton Masakadza, Brenden Taylor, Malcolm Waller and Sikander Raza falling in quick succession. However, Elton Chigumbura added some quick runs, blasting 43 from 34 balls to take the total to 228.

India began their run chase on a shaky note with openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan failing to give a good start. However, Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu made the chase looked easy by crafting a century and a half century respectively, taking the team comfortably home.

The depleted Indian team, which is without regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and some key bowlers, put up a spirited show in the first ODI. Earlier in the day, Amit Mishra took three crucial wickets - Sikandar, Sibanda and Masakadza.

India and Zimbabwe will take on each other again in the second ODI to be played at Harare Sports Club, Harare on Friday (26 July).