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Zimbabwe stuns world champion India by 13 runs in opener of T20 series

Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza celebrates a wicket during the T20 cricket match against India at Harare Sports club, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza celebrates a wicket during the T20 cricket match against India at Harare Sports club, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

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Sikandar Raza picked 3-25 as Zimbabwe beat India by 13 runs on Saturday in the opener of their five-match series.

Raza led the way for his young team that bowled and fielded with great energy to stun the newly crowned T20 World Cup champion, which fielded a second-string side, reports AP.

Tendai Chatara picked 3-16, while Wellington Masakadza and Blessing Muzarabani took one each as India was bowled out for 102 runs in 19.5 overs.

This was after Zimbabwe scored 115-9 in 20 overs despite wrist spinner Ravi Bishnoi picking 4-13 in four overs.

It was the lowest T20 total defended in Harare as India’s 12-match unbeaten run came to an end.

Chasing a low total, India was in trouble early on as its top order failed to get going.

Debutant opener Abhishen Sharma was out caught for a four-ball duck, while Ruturaj Gaikwad was dismissed off Muzarabani for 7.

Riyan Parag, another debutant, was out for 2 with hard-hitting Rinku Singh gone for a two-ball duck. Both fell to Chatara in the fifth over as India was down to 22-4.

Skipper Shubman Gill scored 31 runs to stem the collapse and put on 21 off 29 balls with Dhruv Jurel (7) for the fifth wicket.

It didn’t last long as Luke Jongwe broke through. Thereafter, Raza’s off spin took over. Gill survived a close lbw shout via DRS, but Raza bowled him in the 11th over. It was the turning point as India was 47-6 in 10.2 overs.

Thereafter, Sundar marshaled the lower order but the asking rate kept climbing as Raza picked two more wickets. Avesh Khan scored 16 off 12 balls with three fours.

The Zimbabwe skipper was named player of the match.

“I am very happy about this win and we need to take this series one game at a time,” Raza said. “They are world champions and play like that, so we need to be ready for the next game. Our catching and fielding was amazing but there is room for improvement. The fans also lifted us with their energy.”

Sundar made 27 off 34 balls, including a six and a four, yet was unable to finish the job with 16 runs needed off the final over.

Earlier, Zimbabwe was 40-2 in the powerplay after being put into bat. It lost regular wickets but in comparison to India’s innings, its batters were able to make vital starts.

Clive Madande top-scored with 29 not out off 25 balls to shepherd the score past 100. He hit four fours.

Dion Myers (23) and Brian Bennett (22) contributed vital twenties as did opener Wessly Madhevere (21).

Sundar picked 2-11 in his four overs, putting in an all-round show, but was unable to prevent India’s first defeat in T20s in 2024.

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