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1st T20I: Madande, Chatara and Raza star as Zimbabwe humble new-look India by 13 runs

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Harare, July 6: Tendai Chatara and captain Sikandar Raza took three wickets each as Zimbabwe pulled off a shock 13-run victory over an inexperienced and new-look India in the T20I series opener at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

Pushed into batting first, leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi’s career-best figures of 4-13 restricted Zimbabwe to 115/9, with a useful 29 not out from Clive Madande and his 25-run stand for the last wicket with Chatara helping the hosts reach a respectable total.

In reply, the Indian batting line-up having three debutants, struggled to apply themselves and perished to poor shot selection to be four down in the Power-play. Despite some glimmers of hope from Avesh Khan and Washington Sundar, India were bowled out for just 102 in 19.5 overs.

The result also marks India’s first defeat in the format in 2024 and makes 115 the lowest defended total by the opposition against them in men’s T20Is, with Zimbabwe now taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Chasing 116, Abhishek Sharma didn’t have a memorable debut as he heaved to deep mid-wicket off Brian Bennett to fall for a four-ball duck.

Ruturaj Gaikwad was next to fall — caught at the crease while pushing a length ball from Blessing Muzarabani and the outside edge was snapped by the first slip. Debutant Riyan Parag tried to clear mid-on against Chatara, but the extra bounce took the splice edge to mid-off and he fell for just two.

One brought two for Chatara as Rinku Singh tried to heave across the line, but top-edge was caught by a short fine-leg and fell for a duck. The vociferous crowd at the Harare Sports Club further raised its voice when Dhruv Jurel was enticed to drive a slower ball from Luke Jongwe and hit straight to extra cover in the tenth over.

The voices from the crowd hit the roof when Shubman Gill tried to play Raza through the leg-side but was castled by the carrom ball from Zimbabwe’s captain. Bishnoi took two fours off Raza, but the all-rounder had the last laugh by trapping the batter lbw.

Avesh breathed life into India’s chase by getting a boundary off a thick inside edge from Jongwe, followed by swiping Wellington Masakadza for consecutive fours. But the left-arm spinner bounced back as Avesh holed out straight to long-off on a full toss, followed by Raza finishing his spell by castling Mukesh Kumar through the gate. Washington brought India back in the chase by pulling Jongwe for six and four respectively to bring the equation to 18 runs off 12 balls.

But Muzarabani nailed his length balls to give away two runs in the 19th over and make the equation as 16 runs needed off the final over. Some electric fielding from Muzarabani and Jonathan Campbell meant Zimbabwe saved potential boundaries on consecutive balls. Sundar went for a big swipe off Chatara, but Muzarabani took a tumbling catch at backward square leg to complete a massive win for Zimbabwe, leaving the players and fans in the stadium absolutely ecstatic. Earlier, Bishnoi sliced through Zimbabwe’s batting line-up with his deceptive googlies in the middle overs to pick a four-wicket haul.

Washington was hard to hit too in picking 2-11, while Mukesh Kumar and Avesh had a scalp apiece. Mukesh got India the first breakthrough as Innocent Kaia didn’t account for the swing on a fuller ball and saw his leg stump being uprooted for a golden duck in the second over. Bennett got going with two fours off Mukesh, followed by him and Wesley Madhevere taking two boundaries each off an erring Khaleel Ahmed in the fifth over going for 17 runs.

Bennett, dropped on 18 by Avesh off Khaleel, was dismissed for 23 when he looked to drive a Bishnoi googly, but the ball struck off-stump and bail fell down in the last over of power-play. The leg-spinner struck again in his second over when Madhevere attempted to sweep but missed the quicker googly and was castled for 21.

Raza swept Abhishek for four, before greeting Avesh with the full face of the bat to elegantly loft straight over the bowler’s head for six. But after that, Zimbabwe’s innings began to fall like nine pins. In an attempt to up the scoring rate, Raza went for a pull off Avesh but holed out to long-on. A huge mix-up resulted in Dion Myers and Campbell running to the striker’s end, and the fielder at point threw the ball to the non-striker’s end to have the latter run out for a golden duck.

Washington then had Myers giving him a return catch on his bowling and beat Masakadza on the outside edge to dismiss him for a golden duck. In his final over, Bishnoi trapped Jongwe lbw and castled Muzarabani to leave Zimbabwe in danger of not batting their full quota of overs.

But Madande hit four boundaries in a late cameo of 29 not out off 23 balls, including three in the final over off Avesh, to take Zimbabwe to 115, which was enough to seal a famous win for the hosts. Brief scores: Zimbabwe 115/9 in 20 overs (Clive Madande 29 not out; Ravi Bishnoi 4-13, Washington Sundar 2-11) beat India 102 in 19.5 overs (Shubman Gill 31; Tendai Chatara 3-16, Sikandar Raza 3-25) by 13 runs.

IANS

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