Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu was one of India's best batsmen in the recently concluded ODI series. India's Ambati Rayudu plays a shot during the second One Day International on June 13, 2016.Reuters

After a one-sided ODI series against Zimbabwe, which India won 3-0, the Men in Blue will be keen to come up with a similar performance in the shortest format of the game. India will face Zimbabwe in a three-match T20 series, with the first match set to be played at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

India go into this T20 series as an overwhelming favourite, and they should not have much problems in winning it 3-0 if their players shine once again in Zimbabwe. India have an added advantage in the series as most of the India players, who have been picked for the Zimbabwe tour, are consistent IPL performers as well. 

One name which immediately comes to mind is KL Rahul, who impressed with the bat in IPL 2016. The right-hander played an important role in the recently-concluded ODI series as well, scoring his maiden ton, and also finished the series as the top-scorer, with 196 runs. Ambati Rayudu also looked in good touch with the bat, scoring 103 runs in the series.

Rahul and Rayudu are expected to play an important role with the bat in the T20 series as well. However, one player, who will be keen to leave a stamp in the series will be Manish Pandey, as the dashing batsman has not got much time to spend in the middle with the bat. If these three India batsmen along with MS Dhoni get into the rhythm in the T20 series, Zimbabwe will need to run for cover, as the three are brilliant stroke players.

With India bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal on top of their game, and taking consistent wickets, they will be keen to rip apart Zimbabwe in the T20 series, like they did in the ODI contests.

Players like Rishi Dhawan, Mandeep Singh, Jayant Yadav and Jaydev Unadkat could also feature in the three-match T20 series.

Though Zimbabwe lost the ODI series on an embarrassing note, they will be keen to take inspiration from India's last visit to Zimbabwe in 2015. After losing the ODI series, Zimbabwe played some decent cricket to draw the two-match T20 series level. 

However, Zimbabwe players need to take their game to the next level even if they want to compete against India. They were outplayed in all departments of the game, and did not even scare the India batsmen nor the bowlers.

Zimbabwe have the ammunition in their bag to stop India from winning. With decent players like Elton Chigumbura, Vusimuzi Sibanda and Sean Williams, they need to bring all their experience into play, and come up with a respectable performance in the T20 series, giving the home fans a reason to cheer.

India vs Zimbabwe T20 series schedule

1st T20 – India vs Zimbabwe

Venue – Harare Sports Club

Date – Saturday, June 18

Time – 1p.m local time (4:30 p.m IST, 12 p.m BST, 7 a.m ET)

2nd T20 – India vs Zimbabwe

Venue – Harare Sports Club

Date – Monday, June 20

Time – 1p.m local time (4:30 p.m IST, 12 p.m BST, 7 a.m ET)

3rd T20 – India vs Zimbabwe

Venue – Harare Sports Club

Date – Wednesday, June 22

Time – 1p.m local time (4:30 p.m IST, 12 p.m BST, 7 a.m ET)

TV listings: India: Ten 3 and Ten 1 HD. USA and Canada: Willow TV. Zimbabwe: TSM.

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