Zimbabwe recorded a memorable victory against India in the first Twenty20 International in Harare on Saturday. The hosts put on 170/6 on the board after being asked to bat and India fell short by two runs. The hosts thus went 1-0 up in the three-match series. This was the second time Zimbabwe had beaten India in a T20I in five attempts.
India picked five debutants – Mandeep Singh, KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishi Dhawan and Jaydev Unadkat – and opted to bowl after winning the toss. However, three of those debutants were taken to the cleaners by the hosts, particularly Elton Chigumbura, who hit an unbeaten 55. Dhawan (1/42), Chahal (1/38) and Unadkat (0/43) gave away 123 runs in 12 overs, as Zimbabwe reached a competitive 170/6 in their 20 overs. Chigumbura was helped by Hamilton Masakadza (25 off 15 balls) and Chamu Chibhabha (20 off 19 balls). For India, Patel (1/18) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/24) stood out and prevented the hosts from posting a bigger total.India started their chase horribly after Donald Tiripano knocked over the stumps of KL Rahul on the first delivery of the innings. The tourists were revived by a 44-run partnership between Mandeep Singh and Ambati Rayudu, before the latter fell for 19. Singh departed soon after and India were in a bit of trouble at 53/3, before Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav combined for a 37-run partnership. Jadhav's fall at 90/4 in the 13th over brought on captain MS Dhoni, who stuck together with Pandey for an important partnership and took India close to the finish.
Pandey fell in the 18th over, with the score at 143/5. India still needed 28 runs from 16 balls at this stage, as Patel joined his skipper. The all-rounder smashed two sixes and a boundary to help his team's cause, before holing out to long-off in the final over for a nine-ball 18. India needed four of the final ball, but Dhoni could only get a run as Zimbabwe recorded an emotional victory.