India ease past Zimbabwe in opening T20


India had no real problems in the first T20 against Zimbabwe in Harare on Friday, beating the African side by a whopping 54 runs to extend their unbeaten streak against them in the format, and on the tour.

India recorded a challenging 178 for five in their 20 overs, thanks to a string of 30s from their top order. Zim then collapsed from 55 for none to 98 for seven and put paid to any hopes of a good chase, ending on 124/7.

India won the toss and opted to bat first, this only the third time the sides had faced each other in a T20. Coming off an ODI series whitewash, they were confident of getting enough on the board and handed T20 debuts to Stuart Binny, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel and Sandeep Sharma.

Openers Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay got cracking immediately, putting on 64 for the first wicket inside seven overs, at which point Vijay was run out by Sikandar Raza. Rahane followed two overs later, out for 33.

Robin Uthappa then held the knock together, making his way to 39 not out over the rest of the innings as Pandey added 19, Binny 11 and a few others a handful of runs.

Chris Mpofu was the pick of the home bowlers, taking three wickets but still going at 8.25 to the over.

Zim thus faced a stiff chase, and started off quite well. Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha put on 55 together in eight overs, but once Chibhabha fell for 23, the wheels came undone before falling off completely.

Axar Patel and Harbhajan Singh took three and two wickets respectively, as the hosts collapsed. Masakadza's 28 was the only other score aside from Chamu's to pass 14.

The second match is at the same venue on Sunday.