Zimbabwe handed India a shock two-run defeat in the first T20 international in Harare on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
After being put in to bat by India, the hosts amassed 170/6, thanks to a late blitz from Elton Chigumbura, who hit 54 runs off 26 balls. Contributions by Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Malcolm Waller and Sikandar Raza helped put together the challenging total.
Pacer Jasprit Bumrah once again shone for India after the visitors’ 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series, taking two wickets and conceding 24 runs in his four overs. Jaydev Unadkat and Yuzvendra Chahal were particularly expensive, going for 43 and 38 runs, respectively, in their four overs.
Zimbabwe struck on the first ball of India’s innings, with Donald Tiripano castling KL Rahul, who after tons in both his Test and ODI debut, was dismissed for a golden duck on his T20I debut.
Chibhabha then contributed with the ball as well, having Mandeep Singh caught for 31 and castling Ambati Rayudu for 19.
When the fourth wicket fell at 90, with 81 still needed, Manish Pandey and captain MS Dhoni teamed up to bring India within touching distance of the win. But Pandey then departed for a well-made 35-ball 48, with 28 runs required for victory.
Axar Patel needlessly holed out on the second ball of Neville Madziva’s last over, bringing the equation down to seven off four deliveries. Newcomer Rishi Dhawan could only manage a single off two deliveries and despite a horrendous call for wide, Madziva held his cool.
With four required off the last ball and Dhoni on strike, Madziva bowled it full and wide outside off and Dhoni could only find the fielder for a single. Zimbabwe now have two wins in their last two T20s against India, having won the last T20 of the drawn series last year.
Chigumbura was named man of the match for his fine effort with the bat.
The next T20 is in Harare on Monday.