Zimbabwe Stuns India with 13 Runs Victory In A Low-Scoring Thriller

Zimbabwe pulled off a shocking upset by defeating India by 13 runs while defending a low total of 115 in the first T20I of their series in Harare.

Sikandar Raza and Tendai Chatara both excelled with the ball, taking three wickets apiece as India buckled under pressure. With this victory, Zimbabwe take 1-0 lead in the series.

Zimbabwe Stuns India with 13 Runs Victory In A Low-Scoring Thriller
Zimbabwe team celebrates. Photo Credit: Associated Press

India 102 (Gill 31, Chatara 3-16, Raza 3-25) lost to Zimbabwe 115 for 9 (Madande 29*, Bishnoi 4-13) by 13 runs.

India’s post-World Cup celebrations were put on hold after they suffered their first T20I loss in 2024 at the hands of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s bowlers came out firing after being limited to 115 for 9, taking wickets often to dismiss India for 102 in 19.5 overs. Naturally, this was India’s backup T20I lineup; the first-choice team is taking a break one week prior to the World Cup final in Bridgetown.

India quickly crumbled, much to the delight of the raucous Harare crowd—the Harare Sports Club was filled to capacity—thanks to the outstanding ball play of Tendai Chatara and Sikandar Raza, who each claimed three wickets.

India won the toss, elected to bowl first, and gave debuts to Abhishek Sharma, Riyan Parag, and Dhruv Jurel. Zimbabwe got off to a strong start, but Washington Sundar (2 for 11) and Ravi Bishnoi (a T20 career best of 4 for 13) engineered a collapse. It looked like a straightforward enough chase at the midway point, but the Zimbabwe bowlers had other ideas.

India lost four wickets in five overs as Abhishek fell for a four-ball duck, Ruturaj Gaikwad for seven, Parag for three balls, and Rinku Singh for two. And all of Harare believed when Sikandar Raza cleared Shubman Gill for 31.

With one wicket remaining, India needed to score 16 runs in the last over in order to win while Washington was still in the game. To create riots in Harare, Chatara, on the other hand, bowled a composed 20th over, giving up just two runs off four deliveries and dismissing Washington off the fifth. This is the lowest total defended against anyone in Harare as well as the lowest total ever against India in a T20I. In any format, it was Zimbabwe’s first matchup with India since 2016.

At the halfway point, not many people would have given Zimbabwe much of a chance, but the bowlers found their lengths right away. Raza bowled first with two spinners, Brian Bennett and Wellington Masakadza, and was immediately rewarded when Abhishek top-edged Bennett to deep backward square leg in the opening over.

Also Read: India Wins A Nail-Biting Thriller Against South Africa to Win The ICC T20 World Cup 2024

Gratitude After that, Muzarabani forced Gaikwad to slip with a ball of back-of-length, and Chatara took two wickets in three balls to really disturb India. Rinku could only manage a top-edge to a well-directed bouncer that ballooned straight up for short fine leg to grab an easy catch, while Parag’s on-the-up drive just reached mid-off.

After six overs, India was already in serious trouble at 28 for 4.

Gill started working on the repairs with Jurel, but Raza’s bowlers, who held to their lengths, made run-scoring an extremely difficult assignment. Between overs six and ten, India achieved just two fours. Towards the conclusion of this over, they also lost Jurel, who was caught at extra cover after being tricked by Luke Jongwe’s slower ball.

Zimbabwe Stuns India with 13 Runs Victory In A Low-Scoring Thriller
Sikandar Raza rejoices with the wicket of Shubman Gill. Photo Credit: Associated Press

Then Raza delivered the knockout punch, defeating Gill in the end. The Indian skipper was playing down the incorrect line when he managed to get the carrom ball to drop on a length and smash into the off pole. After 10.2 overs, India was down to 47 for 6, and in the 13th over, they were quickly up to 61 for 7. After a quick 18-ball, 23-run partnership between Avesh and Washington, Zimbabwe could already taste victory when Avesh hammered a knee-high Masakadza full toss to long off.

Even though Washington took Jongwe for 12 in the 18th over, Raza had already castled Mukesh for his third, and the odds were stacked in the hosts’ advantage. Before Chatara ended the game, Muzarabani only gave up two runs in the penultimate over as Washington turned down singles. In nine T20Is this year, Zimbabwe has only won three of them.

Wessly Madhevere gave Zimbabwe the ideal start to their innings as he hit Khaleel Ahmed for four straight down the ground. But Mukesh Kumar’s first ball of his spell—the second over of the innings—uprooted innocent Kaia’s leg stump, so their happiness was short-lived.

Nonetheless, Bennett and Madhevere moved Zimbabwe ahead quickly. Bennett got off to a screaming start with a square drive, and he went on to get four more with a strong outside edge beyond second slip. Then, however in a streaky manner, Khaleel was taken for 17 off the fifth over between both batsmen.

Bennett took the first wicket with a fortuitous boundary over slips, and Avesh then made light work of a fairly simple chance at deep third. After five overs, Zimbabwe shot up to 40 for 1, thanks to a ballistic shot from Madhevere that drove Khaleel through the midwicket and another edge over slip.

With his variances, Bishnoi was always going to be a difficult customer for the Zimbabwean batsmen, and he was quickly among the wickets. He began by removing Bennett for a 15-ball 22 after nearly all of his 24 balls—22 of which were incorrect, according to ESPNcricinfo’s logs—were incorrect. It was a trimmer for bails. Madhevere was dismissed in Bishnoi’s subsequent over after failing to block a slog sweep and taking a few blows to his off stump.

Together with Dion Myers, Raza put up 23 runs off of 24 balls for the fourth wicket, including a lovely six off Avesh. However, his wicket resulted in an unprecedented collapse. Zimbabwe fell from 74 for 3 in the 12th over to 90 for 9 in the 16th, with Bishnoi and Washington being the main culprits.

Raza, who had holed out to deep midwicket off Avesh, was overcome by a surge of blood. Jonathan Campbell was able to run out the first ball before Washington was able to choose two in two due to a complete breakdown in communication. Masakadza was stumped on the first ball after he had initially had Myers caught and bowled.

After surviving the hat-trick ball, Jongwe was bowled out by Bishnoi in the following over. Muzarabani was removed by Bishnoi for his fourth wicket, resulting in Zimbabwe losing six wickets for 16 runs in 23 balls.The unbroken 25-run partnership between Clive Madande and Chatara was the reason Zimbabwe reached 115, and those runs would prove to be very valuable in the end.

Shubman Gill Reflects on India’s Loss to Zimbabwe in T20I

In a low-scoring thriller played in Harare, Shubman Gill’s maiden game as captain of India did not go as planned. The team, which was made up of players attempting to transition from the IPL to international cricket, was found wanting.

Zimbabwe Stuns India with 13 Runs Victory In A Low-Scoring Thriller
Shubman Gill is bowled by Sikandar Raza. Photo Credit: Associated Press

In a T20I in Harare, India was unable to chase 116 against Zimbabwe.

During the post-match presentation, Gill implied that a number of the players on this tour may have been hindered by their lack of recent cricket experience. “We did a decent job of bowling, but I believe our fielding let us down. We didn’t perform to our usual level, and I felt like everyone appeared rusty.”

Conditions was another factor. The pitch in Harare was so slow that hitting over the line and over the top, which were the kinds of shots these batters were used to playing in the IPL, didn’t always work, even when sideways movement for the new ball halted. Four of India’s top six fell when attempting to push the pace, and five of them fell for single-digit scores.

Gill, who top-scored with 31 off 29 balls, stated that he told the team to bat regularly in between innings. To be honest, simply enjoy the batting and take your time. Not a lot of runs are scored. Not much pressure, yet the match didn’t go as planned.

“It would have been best for us if I had stayed there to the very end, but sadly that didn’t happen halfway through. We had lost five wickets.” Extremely unhappy with how this match went and how I was ejected.”

At the very end, Avesh Khan’s two knocks kept India in the hunt, bringing the score down to 18 off 12 balls. Gill was aware of the high odds, too, as they only had two wickets remaining at that point.

“Definitely there was a bit of hope for us,” he stated. “But you know when you are chasing 115 and you want your No. 10 batter to stay out there, something has gone wrong.”

The second round of this five-match series is scheduled for Sunday, giving India an opportunity to quickly make up ground that they have lost.

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