India captain Ajinkya Rahane said it was difficult to hold his nerve when Zimbabwe looked like pulling away when home skipper Elton Chigumbura was batting well from one end in the first ODI of the three-match series in Harare on Saturday.
Chigumbura scored his second ODI hundred but the hosts fell short by just four runs , chasing 256 to win.
"I was looking to stay calm but inside I was nervous. The way Elton Chigumbura batted, it could have gone either way. Credit to both batsmen and bowlers," Rahane, leading a second-string team, said after the match.
"I am happy, all guys played well today (Friday). (Ambati) Rayudu batted really well because the wicket was not easy early on. The way he batted it was brilliant to see from the dressing room. It was a crucial stand between him and (Stuart) Binny," he said.
Rahane believed that 255 was a par score.
"We knew our fielding was good. So it was additional 10-15 runs added to the score in a way. Credit goes to Bhajji pa (Harbhajan Singh) and Axar (Patel), they bowled well and later Dhawal Kulkarni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled well under pressure," he said.
Heartbroken after his unbeaten 104 went in vain, Zimbabwe captain Chigumbura said he was disappointed but hoped to learn from mistakes and come good in the next match.
"It was disappointing to lose the game after getting so close. It is something we can learn. I thought it was a good wicket to bat on, but we kept losing wickets," he said.
"Losing wickets in groups made the difference today (Friday). It is also good to score runs and, hopefully, I can carry on and win for the team."
Rayudu, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his career-best knock of 124, expressed happiness that he could help his team win the match.
"It was very tough to bat in the morning. Me and Ajju (Ajinkya Rahane) were batting well until he got out. I am happy that I took the responsibility today (Friday). Contributing to the team is more important, we won the match, so I am happy," said the 29-year-old.
"I was constantly telling Binny to hold back a bit till the 42nd over as he couldn't afford to lose wickets then. He was batting well and I am happy he came good in the end," he said.