T20: Zimbabwe dent India’s perfect streak
India’s quest to maintain a clean slate in their short cricket tour of Zimbabwe went up in smoke as they suffered a 10-run loss to the hosts in the second and final Twenty20 international here on Sunday.
Chasing 146 for win, India were looking down the barrel at 69 for five in nine overs. Stuart Binny (24) and debutant Sanju Samson (19) played cameos, but the visitors still fell short at the Harare Sports Club.
India, who had won the ODI series 3-0, thus ended with a 1-1 stalemate in the two-match Twenty20 series.
For Zimbabwe, Graeme Cremer snapped up three wickets for 18 runs in his four overs, while SC Williams (1/31), Taurai Muzarabani (1/23) and Chris Mpofu (1/26) took one each.
Earlier, Indian bowlers produced an impressive performance to restrict Zimbabwe to 145 for seven, riding on Chamu Chibhabha’s fourth T20I half-century.
India suffered an early blow, losing skipper Ajinkya Rahane only in the third ball. He was run out after a mix-up with his partner Murali Vijay.
Vijay (13) and Robin Uthappa (40) then added 53 runs in 34 balls before the former was sent packing by leg-spinner Cremer, who beat him for pace and toppled his off-stump in the seventh over.
Three balls later, Cremer struck again when he trapped new man Manish Pandey in front of the wicket with a googly that pitched on middle and leg and skidded on to beat the batsmen, leaving India at 57-3. In the next over, Sean Williams bowled and caught Uthappa, who was looking good till then.
The batsman popped a return catch as Williams stretched his hands over his head to latch onto it. Jadhav too was run out when Muzarabani produced a direct hit as India lost half their side in nine overs. Binny and Samson raised hopes with a 36-run partnership, but the former was sent back into the hut by a stunning catch by Chibhabha as Cremer picked up his third wicket.
Rahane Upbeat after loss
Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane rued his side’s failure with the bat to lose the second T20 International against Zimbabwe on Sunday but said that he was happy with the overall performance of the team in the cricket tour here. “We did not bat well on Sunday, we accept that. We lost wickets continuously. That’s why pressure was built. It’s disappointing to lose the game on Sunday,” Rahane said after India lost the second T20 International by 10 runs to share the series 1-1.
“But we played pretty well in the one-dayers and T20. Overall, I am happy with the performance of boys in the tour,” he said. India had thrashed Zimbabwe 3-0 in the ODI series that preceded the two T20 matches. Rahane said the target of 146 on Sunday was achievable for his batsmen but gave credit to the Zimbabweans for their good show. “145 was achievable, our bowlers did very well, especially in the last five overs. But we could not do well with the bat,” he said. “Let us give credit to Zimbabwe. They played good cricket and deserved to win on Sunday. I think they were fantastic with the ball and fielded well as well on Sunday,” said the visiting captain. Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza expressed happiness that his side pulled off a win on Sunday. “We knew we were 10-15 runs short while batting. Basic errors cost us, but our poor run had to come to the end and it came on Sunday,” he said. “I said to the players if we save one run every over, at the end we would have saved 20 runs. Everything has to come to an end, and now we hope we can win more games for Zimbabwe,” said Raza.