Bowlers-led Zimbabwe beat India in T20I series opener

HARARE: Sikandar Raza-led Zimbabwe bowling attack decimated inexperienced India and sealed a narrow 13-run victory in the first T20I of the three-match series here at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

Put into bat first, Zimbabwe managed to put 115/9 on the board in the allotted overs.

The home side got off to a shaky start to their innings as their opener Innocent Kaia (0) perished on the first delivery of the second over with just six runs on the board.

Opening batter Wessly Madhevere then joined forces with Brian Bennett and added 34 runs for the second wicket before Ravi Bishnoi dismissed the latter in the sixth over.

Bennett scored 21 off 15 deliveries with the help of five boundaries.

Bishnoi then struck again in his next over to provide India with a much-needed breakthrough with the prized scalp of Madhevere, who made 21 off 22.

Sikandar Raza then briefly took charge of Zimbabwe’s batting expedition and formed a crucial 23-run partnership for the fourth wicket Dion Myers.

The Zimbabwe captain fell victim to Avesh Khan in the 12th over after scoring a 19-ball 17.

Avesh struck again on the next delivery to send Jonathan Campbell packing for a golden duck.

Mayers then stitched a brief partnership with wicketkeeper batter Clive Madande. Their fifth-wicket stand yielded 15 runs and lasted with Mayers’ dismissal in the 15th over.

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Zimbabwe then lost three more wickets in quick succession and had slipped to 90/9 before Madande added valuable runs at the backend.

He put on a one-sided partnership with Tendai Chatara (0*) and 25 runs for the 10th wicket.

Madande top-scored for Zimbabwe with 29 off 25 deliveries, hitting four fours.

Bishnoi led the bowling charge for India with four wickets, followed by Washington Sundar, who bagged two. Avesh Khan and Mukesh Kumar made one scalp each.

In response, the inexperienced Indian batting unfolded on a meagre 102 on the penultimate delivery of the innings and thus succumbed to a 13-run defeat.

Skipper Shubman Gill top-scored for India with his 31-run knock up the order, followed by Sundar (27) and Avesh Khan (16).

The rest of the India batters seemed clueless against a disciplined Zimbabwe bowling attack and could not make it into the double figures.

Tendai Chatara and Sikandar Raza were the pick of the bowlers for Zimbabwe, picking up three wickets each while Luke Jongwe, Wellington Masakadza and Brian Bennet chipped in with a wicket apiece.

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