HARARE: India bounced back from their chastening defeat to Zimbabwe over the weekend to thump the hosts by 10 wickets in the second Twenty20 international at Harare Sports Club on Monday and level the three-match series at 1-1.
Zimbabwe’s unexpected two-run victory in Saturday’s opener had suggested they might have turned a corner after a hopeless performance in the one-day series, in which they were whitewashed 3-0.
But on Monday they reverted to type with another feeble batting performance, scoring 99 for nine as India seamers Barinder Sran and Jasprit Bumrah shared seven wickets.
In reply, India’s openers KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh took advantage of a couple of dropped catches to knock off the target in just 13.1 overs.
“Obviously (Saturday) defeat was hurting, but we discussed a few points of what we needed to do, and I think we implemented them really well today,” said Singh.
Zimbabwe’s batsmen had led the way in victory, but on Monday they never got going as Sran picked up four wickets in seven deliveries to reduce the hosts to 28 for four.
Bumrah did the damage at the back of the innings, as he dismissed top scorer Peter Moor for 31 and danger man Elton Chigumbura for eight to record figures of 3 for 11.
Sran finished with 4 for 10 from his four overs – the second best figures by a bowler on Twenty20 international debut.
“The shot selection is something that myself and Lance Klusener are forever trying to correct,” said Zimbabwe interim coach Makhaya Ntini, who confirmed he was interested in taking the job on a full-time basis.
“We need to give them the understanding that you don’t win a game or score a hundred from one shot. If someone gets out before you, you need to be the one who takes charge of the game and correct the mistake that the other one has made.”
Faced with such a meagre target India’s openers had time to play themselves in, but it did not take long for the boundaries to start flowing.
Singh was dropped twice in his innings, and went on to finish unbeaten on 52 while Rahul was 47 not out.
“The wicket wasn’t easy for shot-making because the ball was keeping low a little,” said Singh.
“At the start I was trying to hit hard, because I generally play aggressively, but I watched Rahul and he asked me to calm down a little and try to time the ball. Slowly I controlled the nerves and then I was fine.”
The series decider takes place at the same venue on Wednesday.