Riding on Barinder Sran’s debut four-wicket haul and Jasprit Bumrah’s three-for, India defeated Zimbabwe by 10 wickets in the 2nd T20 on Monday to level the series. The Men in Blue restricted the hosts to 99/9 before KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh formed a 103-run partnership to take India home.
A shock loss in the opening match of the T20 series brought the Indian team back to earth after all the euphoria surrounding the clean sweep in the ODIs. Needing a win to stay in the series, India dropped Jaydev Unadkat and Rishi Dhawan and brought in Dhawal Kulkarni and Barinder Sran for their T20 debuts. With Richmond Mutumbami injured, the hosts brought in wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Moor as they looked to seal a memorable series victory. For the fifth-time in the tour, Zimbabwe batted first after Graeme Cremer won the toss.
‘S’ran’ through the top-order
After the loss in the first T20, Indian skipper Dhoni said in the press conference that India “were not playing with the first XI in the bowling department”. Sran and Kulkarni were back for this match, and the difference immediately showed. Unlike Unadkat, who bowled short in the last match, Sran pitched the ball up from the start, and he struck in the third over to remove Chamu Chibhabha. The right-hander went for a big heave and skied the ball, only to see Rayudu running back from mid-on and taking a catch. The left-armer struck again in his next over, this time bagging three in the space of six deliveries. Masakadza, Sikandar Raza, and Mutombodzi all departed in quick succession as the hosts sunk to 28/4.
Bumrah finishes it
If Sran started it, then Jasprit Bumrah finished the job for India. After Sran’s fiery spell at the start, Malcolm Waller and Peter Moor slowly moved the score forward with a 29-run partnership. Waller, who was dropped by Manish Pandey when he was on zero, huffed and puffed in the middle before surrendering his wicket to Yuzvendra Chahal in the 12th over.
Zimbabwe’s innings was going nowhere, and they needed another quick-fire innings from last match’s hero Elton Chigumbura to post a respectable score, but it never happened. Bumrah returned for his second spell in the 15th over and struck immediately to remove Moor for 31 off 32 balls. The pacer removed Chigumbura and Madziva in his next over to leave the hosts looking down the barrel. With tail-enders in the middle, the hosts managed just 15 runs in the last three overs and finished the innings for 99/9 to leave India an easy target to chase.
A stroll for India
The Indian bowlers set the match up perfectly for the batsmen, who have shown an expertise in chasing down moderate scores in the ODI series. 4.95 runs per over were never enough to scare the Indian batting line-up, and the openers KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh made sure that there was no repeat of the last match. Even the Zimbabwe players seemed keen on helping the Indian cause as they dropped Mandeep Singh twice in the match, and to add insult to injury, both the dropped catches also made it to the boundary with one being a six.
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