India bounced back in some style in the 2nd T20, finding the recipe that worked so well for them in the three ODIs – bowl really well, restrict Zimbabwe to a below par total and then knock down the runs with plenty of wickets and overs to spare. MS Dhoni will hope for more of the same when the deciding match – the 3rd T20 – comes calling at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
Dhoni was critical of his bowlers after Zimbabwe picked up an unlikely victory over India to open the T20 series. However, there were no such worries in the must-win second match on Monday, with the pace bowlers – Barinder Sran and Jasprit Bumrah – picking up seven wickets between them to restrict Zimbabwe to under 100.
The chase was as easy as they come, with the openers taking India home unconquered, as Mandeep Singh helped himself to a half-century. That knock might just help him keep his place in the team for this final T20 of the series, and the final match of the tour.
Dhoni knows the importance of winning matches, and with the series on the line, and knowing the captain's reluctance to make too many changes to the playing XI, it looks unlikely that there will be a shuffle of the pack for this match.
KL Rahul has played in every single game so far, so there is a case to give one of Karun Nair or Faiz Fazal an opportunity, but with the form that the opener is in, it does look like the latter two will be warming the bench again.
The only player yet to feature in any of the matches on this tour so far is Jayant Yadav, and Dhoni might fancy giving the left-armer a crack at the expense of either Axar Patel or Yuzvendra Chahal.
Zimbabwe still have injury concerns over Richmond Mutumbami and Brian Chari. Mutumbami had to be helped off the field after getting hit on the ribs in the first T20 against India, with the wicketkeeper-batsman then going onto miss the second match because of the problem. Peter Moor filled his place behind the wickets, and if Mutumbami does not recover in time, the latter will keep his place in the playing XI.
Chari is struggling with a knee injury, and is unlikely to feature in this final T20 of the series.
Expected playing XI: India: KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (C), Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Barinder Sran.
Zimbabwe: Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Peter Moor, Sikandar Raza, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer (C), Neville Madziva, Donald Tiripano, Taurai Muzarabani.