India edge Zimbabwe to win T20 series 2-1

India edge Zimbabwe to win T20 series 2-1

India Vs Zimbabwe ,Harare :

India edged Zimbabwe in a final over thriller ,in the third and final T20 to win the Prayag T20 series  2-1 here in Harare sports club. After an authoritative display of cricket in the ODI series, Indians were presented with more fight from the Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe had never won a T20I series of more than one match.After winning the second game and levelling series 1-1 , a chase of 139 presented them an opportunity to achieve this, and a nervy final over from Barinder Sran brought them to within one hit of victory. But Elton Chigumbura, with four needed off the last ball, could only manage enough power  to hit a low, wide full-toss into extra-covers’ hands, the same situation which incidentally Dhoni faced in the previous game. India, never quite convincing, won by three runs and took the series 2-1.

In the previous  matches, Sran had impressed with his new-ball swing, but had never really come under pressure. Now, India were bowling second for the first time on the tour, and were defending 138. A number of Zimbabwe’s batsmen had got off to starts, but no one had carried on. They now needed 21 off the last over, with Timycen Maruma and Chigumbura at the crease, both batting on 12. Maruma had hit six off the target with a massive leg-side clout off Jasprit Bumrah in the penultimate over.

Now Sran sent down a length ball, and Maruma, clearing his front leg once again, clobbered it over the midwicket boundary. Then Sran brought square leg and fine leg into the circle, and, in looking to deny Maruma the scoop over the infield, slanted the ball too wide outside off stump. The pressure was firmly on, and a high full-toss followed, providing width for a slap to the cover boundary. No-ball, nine runs to get off five balls, free hit to come.

It was at this point that Sran pulled his death-bowling skills together, sending down three successive wide yorkers, all there or thereabouts: dot, dot, single. Eight to get off two, and Chigumbura ran down the pitch, slogged, and streaked a lucky edge to the third man boundary. Sran couldn’t quite nail his yorker, but his full-toss was low enough to deny Chigumbura and Zimbabwe.

That India had 138 to defend was down to Kedar Jadhav, who scored 58 off 42 balls – his first half-century in T20Is – to lift a batting line-up that got into early trouble on a pitch with decidedly low bounce and inconsistent pace: some balls stopped, some skidded, and the batsmen came to realise that a stump-to-stump line was rather difficult to score against. When Jadhav walked in, India were 27 for 3, with Manish Pandey’s first-ball run-out adding to the early loss of both openers.

Jadhav added 49 with Ambati Rayudu for the fourth wicket at exactly a run a ball. Both batsmen were kept quiet by the conditions and Zimbabwe’s use of them, before Rayudu ran down the pitch, got too far from Graeme Cremer’s legbreak, and holed out to long-on. LaterDonald Tiripano  got MS Dhoni slogging across the line and inside-edging onto the stumps. In the process, a bail flew into Dhoni’s helmet and hit him close to his right eye; when India fielded, the backroom staff came on at regular intervals to administer eye drops.

At 93 for 5 in the 17th over, India seemed to be losing their way a bit, but Jadhav took charge in the next and in process got 50.Later, Tiripano, mixing up his pace well, dismissed Jadhav in the 19th over, but Axar Patel carried the momentum forward into the last over, launching Madziva for six over long-off. It wasn’t the biggest total, but Zimbabwe would need to bat well to get 139 on this pitch.

Jasprit Bumrah, Axar Patel put Zimbabwe under check with run rate. Yuzvendra Chahal eased the pressure with frequent long-hops. Sran pulled off the last over to seal  it for India.

India 138 for 6 (Jadhav 58, Tiripano 3-20) beat Zimbabwe 135 for 6 (Sibanda 28, Moor 26, Kulkarni 2-23) by three runs

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