India in Do-or-Die Situation Post Facing Defeat in 1st T20 Match against Zimbabwe

June 20 16:01 2016

t20New Delhi, Monday, June 20 – Indian fans were taken by surprise to see the Men in Blue losing at the hands of Zimbabwe, who suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat in the One Day International matches held a few days ago, in the first T20 International held a couple of days ago at Harare Sports Club in Harare.

Post receiving three consecutive hammerings in the 50-50 over games after Indian team’s arrival on Zimbabwe, a win gave the host something to cheer. The passionate supporters in the ground were elated and showed their happiness by shaking a leg and shouting. Zimbabwe Squad for opening T20 game had Tawanda Mupariwa, Elton Chigumbura, Vusi Sibanda, Graeme Cremer, Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha, Timycen Maruma, Taurai Muzarabani, Malcolm Waller, Craig Ervine, Tendai Chatara, Wellington Masakadza, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Peter Moor, Tapiwa Mufudza, Richmond Mutumbami, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano and Neville Madziva.

On the other hand, Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side consisted of Faiz Fazal, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Mandeep Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jayant Yadav, Karun Nair, Rishi Dhawan, Dhawal Kulkarni,  Lokesh Rahul, Axar Patel, Barinder Sran and Jasprit Bumrah. India won the toss and decided to bowl first perhaps they wanted to restrict opponents at a score that can be an easy chase. But the host put a total of 170 runs on the scoreboard. Chamu Chibhabha was dismissed by Dhawan when batting at a score of 20 off 19 balls. The opener hit three fours during his short stint on the crease.

Hamilton Masakadza was in a different mood and this got proved with the way he struck three biggies, which helped Zimbabwe pocket runs in speed. Richmond Mutumbami was retired hurt after the ball hit him in the chest. He couldn’t open his account and was taken back to the dressing room by Indian players.  The 27-year-old Mutumbami was in absolute pain and had difficulty while walking as well. Dhoni took Masakadza’s catch behind the wickets when Bumrah was called to bowl an over. The opening batsman played an innings of 25 off 15 balls, together with a four and three sixes. Sikandar Raza was run out by joint efforts of Pandey and Axar, making him get dismissed at 20 runs off 18 balls. A couple of fours helped the batsman lift the pressure up to a certain extent. Malcolm Waller added to the momentum by scoring 30 runs in 21 deliveries with the help of four 4s. Chahal was the man who got his wicket, making the Indian players heave a sigh of relief.

Tinotenda Mutombodzi succumbed to Axar at 3 runs. Words of praise for Elton Chigumbura were not enough to describe his beautiful play for being unbeaten at 54 off 26 balls. The kind of comfort he felt while facing Indian bowling attack is clear from the fact that he struck seven sixes and a four during his stint, which put Zimbabwe in a strong zone.  Graeme Cremer lost his wicket early after Dhawan was quick to come under the ball and pouch a catch. Bumrah showed him the way back to the pavilion when playing at an individual score of 4. Neville Madziva was not out at 5 runs. After Zimbabwe innings came to an end, it was certain that India will not find it an easy task to attain the target. Indian bowlers bowled a total of nine extras. Bumrah got two wickets, Dhawan, Patel and Chahal made one dismissal each, while Unadkat did not get any wicket.

India did not have an ideal start as Lokesh Rahul, the man who left an impression during ODIs, was out for a naught by Donald Tiripano. Zimbabwe picked first wicket early, giving a clear indication that they are not going to miss the opportunity of winning, which was possible only with dedicated efforts both as individuals and a unit. Mandeep Singh and Ambati Rayudu tried their best to keep stress away by spending some time on the crease. Timely hit boundaries lent a hand to India come back on track. But then Mutombodzi caught the ball on a time when Indian players were on the way for a good partnership. Chibhabha dismissed him when he was batting at a score of  31 off 27 balls, together with five 4s.

Ambati Rayudu threw his wicket to Chibhabha post scoring 19 runs off 16 balls, inclusive of four 4s. Manish Pandey played an impressive innings that boosted the thought that game can be over at any point of time. Off 35 balls, 48 runs were scored by him. Three sixes and a four by him added to the momentum in the play. Game changed a little bit after Muzarabani got Pandey’s wicket when he was two runs short to pocket a fifty. Kedar Jadhav’s wicket also went in the pocket of Muzarabani. Before leaving the 22 yards pitch, he scored 19 runs of 13 balls (4 x 1 and 6 x 1).  Axar Patel’s catch was taken by substitute Masakadza in Neville Madziva’s over. However, Patel was nice in playing the shots as the ball was coming on his bat. 18 runs were pocketed by the young man in 9 deliveries, including a four and two sixes.

Equations changed totally after Patel lost his wicket in the last over. All things now depended on Dhoni and Rishi Dhawan. The Indian skipper was not able to play his natural game but had the opportunity to finish the match in style after Dhawan pocketed a single to change the strike. Dhoni made all his effort to place the ball into the gaps and make it go to the boundary line but a Zimbabwe fielder was standing at a right place to save the game, making his team jump in joy as victory was tasted after a long span of time. Dhoni was not out at 19 runs (4 x 1). Zimbabwe won unexpectedly by two runs, surprising the opponents.

The home side was also in surprise for a number of reasons. Given that Dhoni was on striking end, possibility was high that he will finish the game with a six or four. If truth be told then Zimbabwe fell on hard times, disappointing their fans on more than a few occasion.  Hopes are high from them in the coming matches. Recent win on India is likely to give the host much needed confidence. The happy faces in the dressing room were confident of putting forward a good play in the remaining two games of the ongoing tournament.  Since a decisive match is to be played today, many are questioning themselves whether Zimbabwe be able to seal a rare series or will the tourists mark a comeback with renewed strength.  The action is to start after a few hours. Amid loud cheers, the game is to be played. India will have to win the game if they wish to keep hopes alive in the 3-match T20 series.