Former skipper Elton Chigumbura’s late order onslaught guided Zimbabwe to 170/6 in the first T20 International against India at the Harare Sports Club here on Saturday.
Chigumbura blasted seven massive sixes and a four during his unbeaten 26-ball 55, which saw India leaking 59 runs in the last five overs. The right-hander’s eighth-wicket stand with Neville Madziva yielded 40 runs as the Indians were searching for cover.
Earlier, the hosts got off to a brisk start after being sent into bat, with openers Hamliton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha putting on 33 runs as the former skipper blasted a 15-ball 25, including two consecutive sixes off medium pacer Jaydev Unadkat to lay the platform.
But the onslaught was soon controlled by young medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who packed back Masakadza with a slower off-cutter. Wicketkeeper-batsman Richmond Mutumbami, who came in next, retired after hurting himself while Chibhabha soon joined him at the dug out after scoring a 19-ball 20.
Next in Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller added 47 runs for the fourth wicket to take the hosts near the 100-run mark before Waller was castled by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s googly for a 21-ball 30, which included four hits to the fence.
With that wicket, Zimbabwe once again lost the track as Raza (20) ran himself out while left-arm spinner Axar Patel accounted for Tinotenda Mutombodzi (3). Skipper Graeme Cremer (4) also perished cheaply but was Chigumbura’s late order heroics saved the hosts from another humiliation.
Faced with the sudden onslaught, the Indian bowlers looked helpless as medium pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Rishi Dhawan leaked 43 and 42 runs respectively. Bumrah was the most successful bowler with two wickets while Dhawan, Patel and Chahal chipped in with one wicket apiece.