After a successful ODI campaign, India will be facing Zimbabwe in the the 1st T20 match at Harare Sports Club.
The visitors clearly have the upper hand, after demolishing the home team 3-0 in the ODI series. Led by stand in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, the new look Indian team has undoubtedly been able to put up an impressive show. Both their batsmen and their bowlers have contributed imperatively to the team’s performance. With the exception of the first match, where India suffered some hiccups, they had a considerable hold over their opposition in the remaining two matches. They will be looking to carry forward their fine form in the T20 matches also.
A strong batting line up consisting of skipper Rahane, Murali Vijay, Manish Pandey and Kedhar Jadhav adds to India’s batting arsenal. Pandey and Jadhav are both in fine touch as they scored a half century and a century respectively in the previous ODI. On top of that, all-rounder Stuart Binny too can play a handy knock when required. But India will definitely miss the services of injured Amabati Rayudu who is now out of the tour. The poor form of Manoj Tiwary and Robin Uthappa is still a concern though.
Speaking of India’s bowling, the bowlers seem to be in good form. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has spearheaded the attack and has produced some match winning performances. He has been well complemented by Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma in the pace attack. The fast bowlers got good support in the form of Binny’s medium pace and the spinning duo of Harbhajan Singh and Axar Patel. They have been scalping wickets periodically and have put a check on scoring runs on the rival batsmen.
On the other hand Zimbabwe, coached by experienced Dav Whatmore and led by Elton Chigumbura, did put up some spirited performances. In the first ODI they almost ended up victorious but just fell short by 4 runs. In the subsequent matches, their bowlers managed to dislodge the Indian batting order initially but failed to cash in on the opportunity. Plus some of their key players like Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams could not contribute much with their bat. The home team has to quickly rectify their mistakes if want to give India a good fight in the shortest format of the game.
Going by the present scenario, it should be a piece of cake for the Indians tomorrow as all the current players in the squad have abundant T20 experience, courtesy the IPL which clearly puts them ahead of their African counterparts. But they should never underestimate the Zimbabweans as in cricket you never know, upsets might happen just like that !
India: A Rahane(C), M Vijay, M Pandey, M Tiwary, R Uthappa(WK), K Jadhav, S Binny, A Patel, H Singh, B Kumar, S Sharma
Zimbabwe: H Masakadza, C Chibhabha, R Chakava, E Chigumbura(C), R Mutumbani(WK), S Raza, M Waller, A Gremer, P Uteseya, D Tiripano, N Madziva
Match Starts at 4.30 pm(IST)