India lost their the last Twenty20 game of the two-match series against Zimbabwe by 10 runs at the Harare Sports Club on Sunday. It was the first time in the recently concluded series that India were asked to chase and their middle-order collapsed in no time. India captain Ajinkya Rahane agreed to the fact that the batsmen did not bat sensibly, but chasing was never an issue for them.
India lost their skipper Rahane in the very first over of their innings while they came out to bat to chase down those 146 runs. Murali Vijay and Robin Uthappa continued after that and added 54 runs in the powerplay overs. India were placed in a pretty good position, 58 for the loss of one wicket after the field restriction overs. But after that their middle-order suffered a collapse.
"Robin and Vijay were batting really well. We were 58 for 1 after six overs, but after that we lost three or four wickets continuously and from there the pressure built on us. We couldn't build that one partnership to get us through. We were quite comfortable chasing - we needed a run a ball after six overs. We accept that we didn't bat well," Rahane said at the post-match press conference.
Stuart Binny and Sanju Samson stayed at the crease for sometime, but they too gifted their wickets to the Zimbabwean bowlers, who pulled things back in their favour beautifully after they reduced India to 69 for the loss of five wickets.
"We have to give credit to Zimbabwe because I feel they played really well today. Throughout the series they played well. But today their bowling and fielding were really up to the mark. Their energy was pretty good, but I felt their spinners bowled in the right areas. They got two good run-outs and they took a couple of good catches.
''Overall I'm happy with the type of cricket we played, but disappointed with the loss. We lost three or four wickets continuously so the pressure really built on us. I thought the bowlers did pretty well, and 145 was chaseable," Rahane added.
Rahane also explained why Harbhajan Singh was replaced by Sanju Samson, who made his T20 debut on Sunday against Zimbabwe.
"He's an experienced bowler and we all know that he's a match winner for us, but we wanted to give Sanju an opportunity here. Bhajju bhai did pretty well for us and is an experienced bowler, but Sanju has done pretty well back home in the IPL and in the domestic season, so we wanted to give an opportunity," Rahane said.