With the T20 International series squared at 1-1, the third and final match at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday promises to be an exciting battle with India holding an edge over minnows Zimbabwe.
After dishing out a 3-0 whitewash in the One-Day International (ODI) series, India came in for a shocker when they went down by two runs in the first T20 but bounced back with a 10-wicket thrashing of the hosts in the second match on Monday.
Going into Wednesday’s tie, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led young Indian side will aim to wrap up the tour with another series win while the hosts will exert every way to create an upset.
Promising medium pacer Barinder Sran along with the opening duo of Lokesh Rahul and Mandeep Singh made light work of the hosts in the second match with the left-armer picking four wickets, the most by an Indian on debut.
Medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah complimented Sran well with three wickets as the Zimbabweans only managed to reach 99/9 in their 20 overs.
Mandeep and Rahul then guided the team over the line without much hassle with the Punjab right-hander blasting his maiden half century.
Going by Dhoni’s track record, he will not tinker with the winning combination when he picks the team for the third match except if someone has an odd niggle.
On the other hand, the hosts will hope to end on a positive note what was a forgettable series for them.
Apart from the first T20I where former skipper Elton Chigumbura struck a fine 26-ball 54, the Zimbabwe side found the going tough in all departments in the rest of the encounters against a second string Indian side.
In Wednesday’s match, the Zimbabweans will now hope for the likes of Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Sikandar Raza, Chigumbura and Malcolm Waller fire with the willow and give the bowlers a decent score to defend.
India: MS Dhoni (Captain and wk), Lokesh Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Barinder Sran, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Zimbabwe: Graeme Cremer (Captain), Vusimuzi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Elton Chigumbura, Hamilton Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhaha, Donald Tiripano, Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor (wk), Tapiwa Mufudza, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Taurai Muzarabani, Brian Chari, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma.