Chasing India’s 179 runs target, Zimbabwe though got a decent start with openers Masakadza and Chibhabha adding 50 plus runs on the scoreboard with an economy of over 6.00.
To provide an idea of the gulf in T20 experience between these two sides, Elton Chigumbura, their most capped player in the format, had played 106 matches at all levels before this game, while Manish Pandey had 123 caps at the domestic level before Friday’s global debut in the format.
Harbhajan Singh, back in the India Twenty20 side for the first time in nearly three years, also excelled with the ball as he took two for 29 from his four overs.
After a nervous start, Team India completed an nearly ideal whitewash of Zimbabwe in the three match One Day worldwide (ODI) series. Patel dismissed both Masakadza, for 28, and Chigumbura in the next over, and the hosts never recovered any momentum from there on as Mohit Sharma conceded just eight runs in three parsimonious overs. “We’ve got the potential, as you can see, we just need to transform our ability into performance, and that comes from here”, Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore has said. Only Chris Mpofu troubled the Indian batsmen, ending with figures of 3 for 33.
India batsman Kedhar Jadhav finally delivered with a maiden ODI hundred in the concluding game of the series against Zimbabwe and the 30-year-old is glad that he managed to make something of a “great opportunity” given to him by the national selectors.
After a scratchy win in the opening ODI, India got their act together quite quickly to outplay the hosts, who fizzled out after showing some intensity to start with. Zimbabwe bowlers to their credit kept up the pressure at the death and struck at regular intervals to cut down India’s run rate. Not for the first time this series, Raza effected a direct-hit and caught Vijay (34 off 19) well-short of his crease.
Rahane did not take any risk, scoring in singles and twos and rotating strikes before he was out in the 10th over off a fine delivery from leg-spinner Graeme Cremer. He scored a wonderful 105 not out to rescue India from 82 for 4 to 276 for 5.
Stuart Binny then joined his Karnataka teammate Uthappa and the duo looked aggressive right from the outset.
The wicketkeeper-batsman opted against his usual big-hitting approach, and instead anchored the innings with an unbeaten 39 from 35 balls.