With the ODI series wrapped up by India without any troubles from the Zimbabwe team, the Indians securing a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI’s; the focus shifted to the concluding bit of the series in the 3 match t20 series.

T20 3 of 3 – Zimbabwe lead series 1-1

India vs Zimbabwe
Date 22 June 2016
Venue Harare Sports Club
138/6 (20)   135/6 (20)
India won by 3 runs

Coming from a disappointing ODI series loss, Zimbabwe had to showcase a much strengthened performance fitting to their international status. With confidence visible in their game, the Zimbabweans looked much more spirited in their play against India in the 1st of 3 t20’s, winning the 1st match by a whisker margin of just 2 runs but a confidence boosting win nevertheless.

The run of form was however cut short by a strong Indian comeback which was led by the bowling duo of Sran and Bumrah – who picked up 7 wickets and gave away just 28 runs in combined 8 overs. Zimbabwe was knocked out for just 99, India winning by 10 wickets.

In the deciding 3rd t20, Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bowl. Zimbabwe made 3 changes of including Sibanda, Chatara and Maruma in place of Raza, Mutombodzi and Muzarabani. India however stuck with the same winning composition.

The pair of Rahul and Mandeep which eased India pass the 100 run target in the last t20 couldn’t continue from the same momentum as India lost it’s 2 openers for mere 22 and 4 respectively. Pandey too had a forgettable outing, getting out on the very first delivery that he faced – making a duck. India was 27-3.

Rayudu and Jadhav ensured that the scoreboard didn’t get to a standstill and showed impressive gameplay that emphasized on taking quick singles and doubles; putting the Zimbabwe fielders under pressure.

A 49 run partnership between the two ended upon the fall of Rayudu for 20 in 26 balls. At 76-4, the Indian captain came into the middle with the desperate need to get some runs under his belt – he’s really not been the Dhoni that we know to be a “perfect finisher”. Sadly though, Dhoni couldn’t trouble scorers much as he departed for 9 in 13 balls – he could’ve been run-out first ball but the Zimbabwe fielders missed and that has been the case all through this series; Zimbabwe fielding has been below par which has perhaps cost them crucial moments in the match.

Jadhav’s 58 in 42 balls along with Axar Patel’s cameo of 11 balls 20 guided India to the score of 138 for 6 in their 20 overs. This by no means is a strong total and the onus of seizing the t20 series depended heavily on the Indian bowlers – could Sran and Bumrah recreate their last match’s magic?

Zimbabwe in their revert had to find the fine line between being aggressive in chasing this total and keeping the balance to ensure that they don’t lose wickets in quick successions.

With Chibhabha an exception who couldn’t convert his score into double figures, everyone from the Zimbabwe team got starts and converted into double figures but the problem of losing wickets one after another continued.

17-1, 57-2, 60-3, 86-4 104-5 gives a sense into the pattern in which the wickets fell for Zimbabwe, just when a pair started to get going; one of the two batsman fell and the other followed soon enough. Starts but none of the players used their experience to play the role of an anchor.

Needing 21 in the last over; Sran found himself in immense pressure. Making things worse, the first ball went for a six, followed by a wide and then a no-ball free hit. Needing 9 off 4, Zimbabwe were very much in the game but that’s just when Sran realized that he had to go full on the off-stump and ensure that he gives no room to batsmen to free their hands and aim big shot on the leg-side.

Keeping his composure, Sran delivered the good and India achieved a 3 run victory; yet another thrilling t20 encounter and Zimbabwe will feel disappointed getting so close to a t20 series win but nevertheless, their performance comparatively to the ODI series improved heaps in the t20 series.

  • Barinder Sran, Man of the Series
  • Kedar Jadhav Man of the Match
  • India won the ODI series 3-0
  • India win the t20 series 2-1

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