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Chibhabha, Cremer drive Zimbabwe home

Raza stands out on captaincy debut; India rounds off tour with 10-run defeat

Chibhabha, Cremer drive Zimbabwe home - Cricket News
Chamu Chibhabha scored 67 to take Zimbabwe to 145 for 7 before it restricted India to 135 for 9 for a 10-run win.
Zimbabwe has rarely been blessed by inspiring captains, but on Sunday (July 19), it discovered one almost by accident, as Sikandar Raza Butt led it to a deserved 10-run victory over India in the second Twenty20 International.
While Raza couldn’t take all the credit, with Chamu Chibhabha’s 67 hauling the host to a decent score of 145 for 7 and Graeme Cremer grabbing three key wickets, the Pakistan-born batsman made a huge impression in his first match in charge of the national team.
His energy bled into the Zimbabwean side, and the renewed enthusiasm brought its best performance in the field for a very long time. Having cruised through the first four matches of the tour so easily, India appeared stunned by its host’s awakening, and ended up limping to 135 for 9 in response.
The decision to rest Harbhajan Singh also opened the door for Zimbabwe. In the first four matches of the tour, his alliance with Axar Patel had guaranteed a quiet period that generally frustrated the Zimbabwean batsmen - and in particular Chibhabha, who freely admits that he’s still finding his way against spin.
With Harbhajan missing, M Vijay filled in with a couple of handy overs and Patel was reasonably economical, but Chibhabha had more overs against the bowling discipline that he enjoys - seam. At no stage did he get bogged down, reaching his half-century in 38 balls to keep Zimbabwe on track in spite of his teammates’ failures.
At 85 for 2 after 11 overs with Chibhabha and Sean Williams at the crease, 160 looked on the cards for Zimbabwe. But Williams’s tame return catch to Patel and a regular drip of wickets thereafter took the momentum out of the innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar produced two devastating yorkers in the penultimate over to get rid of Chibhabha and Craig Ervine, and Mohit Sharma permitted just four runs from the final six deliveries.
Having batted first for the first time in the tour, Zimbabwe had something to bowl at but equally needed an above-average performance in the field. With Elton Chigumbura forced out by injury, Raza inspired it. Animated in the field from before the first ball of the Indian chase, he marshalled his team proactively and drew an improved fielding performance. 
Ajinkya Rahane was run out in the first over due to a mix-up with Vijay, and later in the innings, with India on the rack, Taurai Muzarabani pulled off a direct hit to send a lackadaisical Kedar Jadhav on his way and reduce India to 69 for 5 after nine overs. The highlight was still to come, with Chibhabha taking a diving catch at long-off that brought back memories of the glory days of Zimbabwean fielding.

Although Zimbabwe’s bowlers gave Robin Uthappa an easy start, with Muzarabani, Chris Mpofu and Chibhabha serving up a Sunday buffet of long-hops that helped the batsman romp to 40 in just 23 balls, Cremer pulled things back with a couple of wickets in his opening over.
His first ball zipped through Vijay’s defences to end his 53-run stand with Uthappa, and the fourth trapped Manish Pandey leg before for a duck. When Uthappa (42) pummelled a drive straight back to Williams in the next over, and Muzarabani pulled off his direct hit in the following one, it was really game on.
Stuart Binny revived the Indian innings with his 24, putting on 36 with debutant Sanju Samson (19), but then Chibhabha came racing in to his left to dive full length, dismissing the allrounder and giving Cremer figures of 3 for 18.
India was left with too much to do, and Raza’s unflagging enthusiasm made sure Zimbabwe didn’t let it back in. In the late afternoon light, a large crowd roared every dot ball and helped secure the victory that it craved.

To view the full scorecard, please click here.

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