© Getty Images
© Getty Images

India take on Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) at Harare after whitewashing the three-match One-Day international (ODI) series. They will expectedly go in with full confidence in the T20I series. Zimbabwe started the tour well, coming close to a win in the first ODI, but never looked to be in the game in the remaining two ODIs.

India have not played a T20I since the close defeat against England in 2014. India, with a second-string side, will look to get off to the best of starts in the two-match series. Players like Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav made full use of their opportunities in the ODIs and are sure to retain their place in the T20Is. However, there is cloud hanging over the selections of Robin Uthappa and Manoj Tiwary — for they did little to justify their selections. ALSO READ: India complete 3-0 ODI whitewash against Zimbabwe

Ambati Rayudu, who scored 124 not out and 41 in the first two ODIs, had to head home following an injury. Sanju Samson was named his replacement. Samson did not play in the second ODI but will most likely make his international debut in the T20Is in place of Uthappa. India may also hand a cap to Sandeep Sharma, who has proved his worth in the shortest format of the game during his tenure with Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Indian Premier League (IPL). ALSO READ: I am enjoying my cricket, says Murali Vijay

Zimbabwe will believe that they have a chance of winning the T20I series despite having lost the ODIs comprehensively. Elton Chigumbura, Neville Madziva and Chamu Chibhabha have done well, but they never got going as a team. Hamilton Masakadza had an ordinary series by his standards and will look to contribute a little more in the T20Is. ALSO READ: Manish Pandey will cherish getting India cap from Harbhajan Singh

Zimbabwe also have Sikandar Raza and Vusimuzi Sibanda — men with the ability to score quick runs. With an inexperienced Indian bowling attack, they can use their experience to full effect and cause some damage. Along with Masakadza and Chigumbura, they can make a difference.

If their bowlers apply themselves a little better, they too can produce results for their team.

India will no doubt go into the series as favourites, especially at the back of a thumping win in the ODI series; but T20s have always proved to be a tricky format, and Zimbabwe will look to give their fans something to cheer about by registering their first win of the tour.


Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (c), Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Regis Chakabva (wk), Chamu Chibhabha, Graeme Cremer, Neville Madziva, Hamilton Masakadza, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.

India: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Kedar Jadhav (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Stuart Binny, Harbhajan Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Akshar Patel, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Murali Vijay.

TIME: 13.00 Local | 11.00 GMT | 16.30 IST

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)