Harare: A rejuvenated India will have their nose ahead when they lock horns with Zimbabwe, left bruised and battered after a 10-wicket thrashing, in the series-deciding third and final Twenty20 International here tomorrow.
India entered the series on the back of a 3-0 whitewash of Zimbabwe in the preceding ODI series, but suffered a shocking two-run loss to the hosts in the opening T20 last Saturday.
The visitors got their act together in the second game yesterday and inflicted a crushing defeat on Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club.
India stayed alive with a win in the second game and would now look to seal the issue in their favour with another convincing victory.
Led by veteran skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, this young Indian side would take heart from yesterday’s performances by Barinder Sran, Mandeep Singh, KL Rahul and also Jasprit Bumrah.
While young seamer Sran returned the best figures by an Indian on debut, Mandeep struck a fluent half century and Rahul too contributed handsomely to guide the team home with plenty of overs to spare.
Bumrah was a perfect ally for Sran, picking up three wickets. The knock was Mandeep’s maiden half century in this format.
The young Turks would like to have another good outing before heading home.
The team lost its plot a bit in the first game and according to Mandeep, it stuck to basics in the second T20, and the result was there for all to see.
India will take confidence from the fact that this was their first 10-wicket win in a T20 international.
The experienced campaigner that he is, Dhoni would however not take the beleaguered hosts lightly and advise his younger teammates to guard against complacency, irrespective of the margin of victory in the previous game.
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“I emphasised we needed to run hard, push the fielders and in a shorter format it’s always important to sneak in those quick runs,” Dhoni had said after yesterday’s win.
As far as Graeme Cremer’s Zimbabwe are concerned, they would hope to end, what was a forgettable series for them, on a positive note.
Skipper Cremer spoke about the side losing wickets at regular intervals.
“We started well but we lost wickets at regular intervals, just couldn’t get going. It was disappointing, we thought the pitch misbehaved a bit but getting all out for 99 isn’t good enough. We still have one more game to go,” Cremer said after his team’s miserable outing with the bat.
If Zimbabwe are to give India a tough fight, the likes of Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Sikandar Raza, E Chigumbura and Malcolm Waller will have to fire with the bat in unison, and then hope the bowlers put up a good show.
India: MS Dhoni (Captain), KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Barinder Sran, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Zimbabwe: Graeme Cremer (Captain), Vusimuzi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Elton Chigumbura, Hamilton Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhaha, Donald Tiripano, Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor, Tapiwa Mufudza, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Taurai Muzarabani, Brian Chari, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma.