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India seeks to build on ODI gains

Samson in line for debut; Zimbabwe desperate for turnaround in two-match T20I series

India seeks to build on ODI gains - Cricket News
On India's tour to Zimbabwe, there were several in the party who had a point to prove and were intent on staking their claim for a more permanent spot in the side. The 3-0 sweep of the host in the One-Day International series was driven by stellar performances by some such candidates, with the two-match Twenty20 International series starting on Friday (July 17) in Harare offering occasion for more.   

Ambati Rayudu, who began with a bang, smashing an unbeaten century in the first game and backing it up with a useful 41 in the second, was ruled out of the remainder of the tour after the second ODI, but the other Indian centurion, Kedar Jadhav, will look to build on his big knock. 

Jadhav's hundred in the last ODI came from just 87 balls and was an ominous signal to the Zimbabwe side ahead of the 20-over games. 

Manish Pandey, meanwhile, was all flair and confidence on his debut in the same game, showing he could stand up and deliver when the pressure was on even in international cricket. It's been a while since he became the first Indian to hit an IPL hundred back in 2009, but after his authoritative performance on Tuesday, the opposition would be well served to remember what he's capable of.  

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the pick of the Indian bowlers, especially at the death, and the team has also benefitted from the swing he and Stuart Binny generate. 
 
A potential debut for Sanju Samson is on the cards. Samson, 20, has been named Rayudu’s replacement and could break into the side ahead of either Robin Uthappa or Manoj Tiwary, neither of whom made significant contributions in the three ODIs. 

All these standout performances though have meant that Zimbabwe has been left searching for answers all tour. 

Having been blanked in the ODIs, it will look to recover some confidence and momentum in the T20Is before what promises to be a tougher series at home against New Zealand.    

The host will be boosted by the return of Craig Ervine, who missed the ODI leg with a hamstring injury. But Sean Williams, who didn't feature in the final 83-run loss on Tuesday because of pain in his right knee, wasn’t available for selection, which was also the case with Tinashe Panyangara, who suffered a muscle tear in the first ODI.

Zimbabwe will want Ervine to add depth to its faltering batting. So far, it has fallen on Chamu Chibhabha, who has turned out to be a useful allrounder, and Elton Chigumbura, the captain, to rescue the side after frequent middle-order collapses. 
 
The Zimbabweans have also drafted in Charles Coventry, the wicketkeeper-batsman who has a ODI highest score of 194 not out, John Nyumbu, the offspinner, and Taurai Muzarabani, the uncapped seamer, to their squad.
 
Chigumbura has called for his side to ruthlessly turn the screws, having got the opposition on the mat. So far, it has allowed India to recover after slipping to 87 for 5 in the first game and 82 for 4 in the last. “We let India off the hook,” admitted Dav Whatmore, its coach, insisting the side was working on addressing psychological concerns. 

It was glad for the chances to play competitive cricket, he added. “Please bear with us. We are trying really hard to get results. We just need a little more time.”   

Teams (from):

India:
Ajinkya Rahane (capt), M Vijay, Sanju Samson, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Harbhajan Singh, Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Sikandar Raza, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Charles Coventry, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer, Neville Madziva, Hamilton Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Taurai Muzarabani, John Nyumbu, Donald Tiripano, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller.

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