Harare: Indian bowlers produced an impressive performance to restrict Zimbabwe to a small total of 145 for seven in the second and final T20 International cricket match here today.
The Indians took wickets at regular intervals to deny momentum to the home side but opener Chamu Chibhabha ensured that Zimbabwe put up a respectable total with a superb 51-ball 67 after his side elected to bat on a slow pitch at the Harare Sports Club.
Chibhabha, who hit his fourth T20I half century today, held the Zimbabwe innings together and he was the only home side batsman who could give some fight to the disciplined Indian bowlers.
For India, pacers Mohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar grabbed two wickets each while Sandeep Sharma, Stuart Binny and Axar Patel took a wicket each. For Sandeep, it was his maiden international wicket as he got his first India cap in the first T20I against Zimbabwe two days back.
Zimbabwe did not start brightly as they lost opener Hamilton Masakadza (19) in the fourth over off the bowling of Sandeep who induced a faint edge off the bat for Robin Uthappa to do the rest behind the stumps.
The home side were soon 48 for two as Sikandar Raza (8), who captained Zimbabwe in the absence of Elton Chingumbura, could stay at the crease for just two overs before he fell as Sharma's second victim.
Zimbabwe were 48/2 in the sixth over then.With India gaining the upper hand, captain Ajinkya Rahane gave the ball to part-timer Murali Vijay to bowl his off-breaks. Vijay, bowling for the first time in T20Is, did a decent job by conceding nine runs in his two overs as Zimbabwe could just reach 76 for 2 at the halfway mark.
Zimbabwe needed to push up the scoring rate and while doing so, they lost the wickets of Sean Williams (17) and Charles Coventry (4) in the 12th and 16th overs without contributing much.
It was left to Chibhabha to take Zimbabwe to a respectable total and he did it to quite an extent before he was out in the penultimate over. Ultimately, Zimbabwe failed to give the final push as they lost three wickets in the final two overs. They added just 33 runs in the last five overs and lost four wickets.