Harare - Zimbabwe rose from the ashes of an embarrassing one-day series
whitewash at the hands of India to shock the tourists by two runs in a
thrilling Twenty20 international at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
a game that went right down to the final delivery, Elton Chigumbura's
unbeaten 54 ultimately made the difference as Zimbabwe took a one-nil
lead in the three-match series.
Despite fielding five debutants in
the format, India went into the fixture as strong favourites because of
their experience in the Indian Premier League, only to come away
"It's a levelling experience, by which I mean that you
need to give a lot of respect to cricket irrespective of the
opposition," captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
"You can't play
with your reputation - what's important is how well you execute and I
felt we were way off today in both the bowling department and in the
"At the same time credit goes to Zimbabwe because they
made the most of that opportunity - they batted well and bowled the
Zimbabwe's batting had been dismal in the ODIs, when
they failed to score more than 168, but on Saturday they appeared to
rediscover their joy for the game as they posted 170 for six.
Masakadza provided a positive start at the top of the order with 25
from 15 balls, while Malcolm Waller took the game to India through the
middle of the innings with his 30.
A familiar collapse looked to
be on the cards when Waller failed to pick Yuzvendra Chahal's googly and
Sikandar Raza Butt was run out for 20, but Chigumbura found form to
spark fireworks at the end, hitting seven sixes in his 26-ball knock.
all-rounder's innings represented a dramatic turnaround after he had
registered back-to-back golden ducks in the final two ODIs, which
Zimbabwe lost heavily.
"After what happened in the one-day series, as a team it was time to redeem ourselves," said Chigumbura.
"We knew that if we played as a team and all contributed, the chances were that we would have a chance of winning the game."
they lost KL Rahul to the first ball, India looked on track to complete
the chase for the majority of their reply as Manish Pandey led the way
However the tourists were guilty of losing wickets at key
moments to let Zimbabwe back into the game, which went into the final
over with Dhoni on strike and India needing eight to win.
Neville Madziva allowed only singles to leave Dhoni with four to get off
the last ball, then kept his nerve to finish with a yorker as India
finished on 168 for six.
"It's my job (to finish the game), but at
the same time we kept losing wickets so I felt the batsmen will have to
take the responsibility because quite a few of them were set," said
"It's important when you're chasing a total to take it to the end, and that was something that was lacking in this game."
The second game in the three-match series takes place at the same venue on Monday.