India might have smashed the ODI series, but Zimbabwe will want to end the T20 international series on a high by clinching the 3rd T20 at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday. With one win apiece, it all comes down to the final match.
Zimbabwe won the first T20 of this three-match series, and in stirring fashion too. After Elton Chigumbura gave the bowlers a score to defend, Neville Madziva held his nerve quite brilliantly in the final over to deny MS Dhoni and co. a victory.
However, Zimbabwe's joy would be shortlived as India came out all guns blazing in the second T20, with their bowlers, again, doing the trick. Jasprit Bumrah and Barinder Sran picked up seven wickets between them to stop Zimbabwe at 99, before KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh hauled down those runs with ten wickets to spare.
So, now it is all about the final T20 of the series, and last match of the tour, as Zimbabwe look for some kind of consolation, after they were thrashed by India in the ODI series. In all five of the matches so far, win the toss or lose the toss, Zimbabwe have batted first, with India given a target, more often than not a below par one, to chase.
It will be interesting to see what the captains – Dhoni and Graeme Cremer – decide to do, if they end up winning the toss for this 3rd T20.
That depends largely on how the captains think the wicket will play. If Dhoni thinks it might slow down a little later, then he might bat first, but with just 40 overs to play in the entire game, it might not matter either way.
What will matter, though, is how the Zimbabwe batsmen tackle the India seamers. Apart from that one game, in the first T20I, Zimbabwe have struggled against the pace bowlers, emphasised by the fact that Sran and Bumrah finished with a four-for and three-for respectively in the last match.
The top order, led by Hamilton Masakadza, needs to take up more responsibility, because if there is a solid base for the middle order and lower middle order to build on, as Chigumbura showed in the first match, Zimbabwe are capable of lighting up the Harare Sports Club.
Dhoni will expect his seamers to do the trick again, especially early on, while Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel, expected to keep their places in the playing XI, have been reasonably consistent as well.
India struggled to cope with the pressure of a big chase in the T20 series opener, and what Zimbabwe will want is to give their bowlers something to defend, that is if they end up batting first again.
Where to Watch Live
India vs Zimbabwe -- 1st T20 -- is set to begin at 1 p.m. local time (4.30 p.m. IST, 12 p.m. BST, 7 a.m. ET). Below is the live streaming and TV information for the match.
India: TV: Ten 3 and Ten 1 HD. Live Streaming: Ten Sports Live.
South Afirca and Sub Saharan Africa: TV: SuperSport 2. Live Streaming: SuperSport
USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Online.
International: Live Streaming: Cricketgateway.