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Zimbabwe v India, 1st T20I – 5 Talking Points

Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe. (Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe rose from the ashes of the ODI defeat to clinch a highly emotional win over India in the opening T20I of the three-match series. It was a very dramatic game at the Harare Sports Club which witnessed the hosts edge past the visitors by two runs and take a 1-0 win.

The Zimbabweans posted a competitive 170/6 batting first with the help of Elton Chigumbura’s whirlwind half-century. In reply, the Indians were stunned by the disciplined bowling performance from the opposition and were left reeling in the chase. But, Manish Pandey led with his 48 and kept the world no. 2 side in contention of a victory. The Zimbabwean, however, looked determined and chipped away with crucial wickets to restrict them to 168 for six and snatch a close two runs win.

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1.Most debutants in a T20 match:

India fielded a record five debutants in today’s game. MS Dhoni opted for a fresh team, giving Rishi Dhawan, Mandeep Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal a place in the playing XI. The debutants, however, had a pretty unsatisfactory day today. Rishi Dhawan registered 1/42 in his 4 overs spell, giving away runs at 10.52 per over while Jaydev Unadkat;s 1/43 from his from his four overs spell was unsatisfactory. KL Rahul, after having a terrific ODI series, was dismissed for a golden duck in the first over while Mandeep Singh made a functional 27 ball 31. Yuzvendra Chahal, who was adjudged as the Young player of the Series in ODIs, also looked mediocre, taking just one wicket at the cost of 38 runs.

2. Elton Chigumbura powers Zimbabwe to a challenging position:

Zimbabwe, after a smooth short from the openers, lost Hamilton Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami (retired hurt) and Chamu Chibhabha in quick successions by the end of the 7th over. Malcolm Waller and Sikandar Raza also departed after getting starts to leave the Zimbabwe side in a lurch. However, all-rounder Elton Chigumbura, coming in to bat at No.7, smashed a stunning 26 balls 54 runs knock including 7 sixes to help Zimbabwe cruise to a challenging total of 170/6 at the end of 20 overs. It was a complete onslaught and it seemed that the Indian bowlers were completely caught off-guards. Sixes were flying off the right-hander’s bat. His knock provided the much-needed acceleration to the innings and also a lot of reasons for the dejected Zimbabwean fans to cheer out loud.

3. Indians left reeling:

The Indians suffered an early blow in their chase after KL Rahul lost his wicket for a golden duck. Rahul was in superb form in the ODI series and a similar performance was expected from him in today’s games as well. However, a gentle 130 KMPH delivery from Donald Tiripano was enough to bring his downfall. Facing the first ball of the 2nd innings, Rahul tried to dab the ball to the third man but instead played on the ball onto the stumps to return to the dugout with a golden duck to his name. This was the 1st time India had lost a wicket of the first ball of their innings in a T20I. The Zimbabweans continued to maintain a tight grip and did not allow the Indian batsmen get away easily. Chamu Chibhabha snapped Ambati Rayudu and Mandeep Singh in the 6th and the 8th over to put India in deep trouble.

4. Manish Pandey keeps the hopes alive:

Manish Pandey finally had some batting opportunity waiting for him after having hardly got any chance to bat in the ODI series. The Karnataka batsman did not disappoint and quickly began rebuilding the chase. He stitched two crucial partnerships in the middle to keep the Indian ship steady. Pandey put up 37 runs for the 4th wicket with Kedar Jadhav (19 from 13 balls). He later forged with skipper MS Dhoni and shared a 53 runs stand and took India near the target. Pandey’s was slowly pushing the hosts out of the game before the unexpected happened. Just when it looked that Pandey was nearing towards his half century, Muzarabani snapped his wicket to create another twist in the game. He departed with an unfinished job, scoring 48 from 35 balls.

5. The Zimbabwe clinch historic win:

The Zimbabwe bowlers started off really well and held a tight grip over the proceedings. But, as the match proceeded, Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni were growing into a potential danger and threatened to take the game away from them. The pair was batting sturdily and had brought down the equation to 53 from the last five overs from 111 in 11 overs. 24 runs off the next couple overs further reduced the equation to 21 off the last two overs. One good over was what India required to win the match. But, then came the climax. Donald Tiripano snapped Pandey in the 18th over to give a huge blow. Axar Patel and Dhoni mustered 13 more from the 19th over to make it 8 runs off the last six. The game could have gone in India’s favour but Madviza, held his nerve, and bowled a heroic last over to defend the target by 3 runs, ensuring a marvellous victory.

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