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IND vs ZIM 1st T20: Zimbabwe Pull Off Thrilling Two-run Win

By on June 18, 2016

Zimbabwe 170 for 6 (Chigumbura 54*, Waller 30, Bumrah 2-24) beat India 168 for 6 (Pandey 48, Chibhabha 2-13) by two runs…

Neville Madziva defended eight runs in the last over as Zimbabwe recorded one of their most famous wins over a fancied Indian side, a two-run win in the first T20I of the three-match series at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday to take 1-0 lead in the series.

Defending 171, Zimbabwe forced India to dig deep into their batting resources for the first time since the start of the tour but Axar Patel struck a few lusty blows late in the chase to keep them on the edge.

It all boiled down to Madziva who did everything right from getting rid of Axar to keeping finisher MS Dhoni, a veteran in such conditions, off the strike as India fell short of the target by three runs, finishing at 168/6. The Zimbabwe players broke into wild celebrations after enduring a horrible ODI series against the same opponents earlier.

The home team kept finding breakthroughs regularly to break threatening Indian partnerships before Manish Pandey and Dhoni came together for a 53-run association for the fifth wicket. Pandey played a busy knock of 48 runs – his highest T20I score – but fell at the wrong time in the 18th over, caught off Taurai Muzarabani. The equation was now much stiffer – 28 off 16 with Dhoni being the only specialist batsman left.

IND vs ZIM 1st T20: Elton Chigumbura

Credits: ESPN CricInfo

Needing 21 from 12 balls, Axar launched Muzarbani over the long-on fence for a six and followed that with a four and another six off Donald Tiripano in the next.

Now the match was heavily tilted in India’s favour. Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer handed the ball to Madziva. On strike was Dhoni who could only manage a single off the first. Madviza overpitched his next but Axar ended up hitting it straight to substitute fielder Wellington Masakadza at long-off to be out for 18.

Seven off four and Dhoni had the strike, still the big shot evaded and again he mustered just one. Rishi Dhawan, making his debut, found himself in a tense situation and wilted under pressure missing a wide yorker. A repeat of the shot off the next followed but this time umpire gave it as wide.

Finally, off the fifth he managed to get his bat on the ball but that too only brought India a run closer to the target which is what they managed off the final delivery as well.

India didn’t have a impressive start to the chase as opener KL Rahul was out for a golden duck in his first T20 international. Ambati Rayudu walked in at no 3 and was off the blocks with two quick fours in the same over, relieving his side from the early shock.

Debutant Mandeep Singh chose to be careful early on before mistiming a flick off Madziva that evaded a diving Taurai Muzarabani’s grasp which gave him a lifeline at seven.

He immediately capitalized on the reprieve with two successive fours off the next two deliveries. But when it looked the duo had settled in nicely, Rayudu inexplicably charged forward and swung wildly off the penultimate delivery of the Powerplay overs, bowled by Chibhabha, to be clean bowled for 19.

A fluent Mandeep continued his charge, taking the Indian score past the 50-run mark with a four but failed to build on the start to be brilliantly caught by Tinotenda Mutombodzi for 31 and for the first time on the tour; India had lost their third wicket.

Zimbabwe sniffed an opportunity but another small partnership, worth 37 runs, between Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav, kept India from veering off the track. Jadhav looked determined chopping one onto his stumps to be out for a 13-ball 19.

That Zimbabwe could test India was largely due to a late surge led by Elton Chigumbura, who struck a quick-fire half-century. Another middle-order implosion saw them being reduced to 115/5 in 16 overs but Chigumbura took over the charge and played an entertaining knock that lifted the gloom which had settled over the hosts.

He came in to bat at No.7 and struck seven sixes and a four in his unbeaten 26-ball 54 with Zimbabwe collecting 55 runs from the last four overs.

Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha led a solid start after being put into bat. Masakadza hit a six over midwicket and a cover drive for four in Rishi Dhawan’s first over in which came 12 runs. Jaydev Unadkat, making his international return after three years and also his T20I debut, bowled a probing first over. But after a change of ends, he was deposited into the stands twice for two sixes, by Masakadza.

33 runs from three overs and it seemed Zimbabwe were finally ready to stand up to the visitors but Jasprit Bumrah poured cold water on their plans with the dismissal of Masakadza (25) whose attempt at a scoop off a slower delivery resulted in a leading edge that was easily gobbled by Dhoni.

Richmond Mutumbami lasted four deliveries before retiring hurt after being hit on his midriff by an inswinging Unadkat delivery. By the time Sikander Raza was run-out for 20, four of Zimbabwe batsmen had failed to convert promising starts.

The disgust on Raza’s face after being dismissed was enough to prove that Zimbabwe hadn’t learned anything. 115/5 in 16 overs against an Indian side which gave T20I debut to five players – Rishi Dhawan, Yuzvendra Chahal, KL Rahul, Unadkat and Mandeep Singh – was yet another example of the gulf between the two sides.

All that changed after Chigumbura’s arrival. He exploded in Chahal’s fourth over with two sixes and then dismantled Unadkat with two more sixes and a four before spoiling Jasprit Bumrah’s figures (he allowed just 10 runs in his first three overs for two wickets) in the innings’s last over which resulted in 15 runs. His knock proved to be the tonic they needed to break the rut.

Source: Times Of India

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