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India levels series with 10-wicket win

Mandeep and Rahul power through to target after Sran, Bumrah keep Zimbabwe to 99 for 9

India levels series with 10-wicket win - Cricket News
Mandeep Singh steered India to a 10-wicket victory with an unbeaten 52.
India returned to winning ways on its tour of Zimbabwe after having lost the first Twenty20 International, powering through to a comprehensive 10-wicket win in the second T20I to level the series in Harare on Monday (June 20).

Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat, but a disciplined Indian attack kept the team to 99 for 9 in 20 overs. The 100-run target was never going to test India’s batsmen and the openers, Mandeep Singh (52 not out) and KL Rahul (47 not out), achieved victory in just 13.1 overs.

The architects of India’s victory – it was the team's first 10-wicket win in T20Is - were the pace duo of Barinder Sran and Jasprit Bumrah. Sran, making his debut, blew away Zimbabwe’s top order and ended with stunning figures of 4-0-10-4 – all four wickets coming inside the Power Play - while Bumrah took care of the tail, finishing with 3 for 17.

Zimbabwe’s batsmen had combined for a good effort in the first game, but they showed some impatience on Monday. India’s bowlers too, kept things tight throughout the innings, and that combination meant wickets fell regularly.

India was also aided by some sharp catching, despite a couple of tough chances going down. The tone for the innings was set as early as the third over when a brilliant take by Ambati Rayudu gave Sran his first T20I wicket. Chamu Chibhabha had tried to go over mid-on but Ambati Rayudu back-pedalled to grab a well-judged overhead catch.

The left-arm pacer celebrated the milestone with a dream follow-up over where he ripped through the heart of Zimbabwe’s batting line-up with three more wickets. Hamilton Masakadza swung and missed at a straight ball, Sikandar Raza steered to gully for a sharp catch and Tinotenda Mutombodzi was trapped lbw first ball.

The score, 28 for 4 then, could have turned 35 for 5 but Manish Pandey put down a catch at point to give Malcolm Waller an early reprieve. Waller consolidated for a while but fell to Yuzvendra Chahal’s legspin, driving him straight to extra cover.

The man who showed the most resolve was Peter Moor. The No. 3 batsman took his time but held one end firm. A lot depended on him and Elton Chigumbura, Zimbabwe’s hero in the previous game, but the return of Bumrah ended any hope of a first-game like revival.

Moore was deceived by a slower ball while Chigumbura and Nevill Madziva were beaten by quicker ones as Zimbabwe was restricted to a sub-100 score.

The only way Zimbabwe could have come back from there was through some early wickets but that didn’t happen.
Madziva did create a chance but Waller, who was perhaps distracted by Muzarabani running towards him, dropped Mandeep on 4.

Mandeep had another reprieve on 22 when Donald Tiripano put down a simple catch at deep square-leg. The result was that the chase became easier for India’s openers.

It was a chance for Rahul to bounce back after his first-ball duck on T20I debut in the previous game and he did just that, playing some typically gorgeous shots. The highlight of his knock was his two sixes, one of them off Graeme Cremer going out of the stadium.

Mandeep, meanwhile, made the most of the reprieves and helped himself to his first T20I half-century, which he got with a boundary that completed the chase.

The final and deciding game of the series will be played on Wednesday at the same venue.

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