Harare: Pacer Neville Madziva held his nerves in the last over to help Zimbabwe stage a massive upset by defeating India by two runs in a thrilling first Twenty20 international in Harare on Saturday.
India needed just 8 runs off last over with captain MS Dhoni and Rishi Dhawan at the crease but a controlled bowling by Madziva didn’t allow the Indian batsmen to score runs. India managed just 6 runs in the last over.
Earlier, India’s rookie bowlers were taken to cleaners by the seasoned Elton Chigumbura, who smashed an unbeaten 55 to help Zimbabwe reach a competitive 170 for six. Chigumbura hit seven lusty sixes along with a boundary to give his team something to fight for with his 26-ball knock.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel (1 for 18 in 4 overs) and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah (2 for 24) put the brakes on the host nation. However, the trio of T20 debutants Rishi Dhawan (1 for 42 in 4 overs), Yuzvendra Chahal (1 for 38 in 4 overs) and Jaydev Unadkat (0 for 43 in 4 overs) gave away 123 runs in 12 overs.
Bumrah once again proved to be the best performer as he bowled maximum number of dot balls — 13. Leg-spinner Chahal got a bit of stick during his final over, so did left-arm slow medium pacer Unadkat.
Hamilton Masakadza (25, 15 balls), for one, smashed three sixes — one off seamer Dhawan and two off medium fast bowler Unadkat to get the team off the blocks quickly.
Masakadza along with Chamu Chibhabha (20, 19 balls) added 33 runs for the opening stand in only 4.2 overs before Bumrah removed him. Masakadza tried to play a lap-scoop off a slower delivery only to be caught by Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps.
Richmond Mutumbami (0 retired hurt) got hit while playing the third delivery off Unadkat which kicked off from length. Himachal Pradesh’s Rishi, who got a second chance after a disastrous tour of Australia, was hit for six boundaries and a six in his four overs. But his consolation was Chibhabha’s wicket.
Sikander Raza (20, 18 balls) and Malcolm Waller (30 off 21 balls) added 47 runs for the third wicket but Chahal then bowled a googly to breach through Waller’s defence.
The 97 for 3 soon became 98 for 4 after Raza was run-out after a mix-up with Chris Mutombodzi. Once Mutombodzi was gone, Chigumbura came and blew away the rookie Indian bowlers carting the pacers and spinners alike in the big arc between cover and mid-wicket.