India won the three match ODI series in convincing fashion and Zimbabwe looked completely demoralized. Most believed that the T20 series would be nothing but a formality as the new look Indian team comprised mostly of players who have had a great 2016 IPL.
However Zimbabwe caught India and captain MS Dhoni completely off-guard during the first T20 and recorded their first ever T20 win over India. Zimbabwe scored 170 batting first thanks to some great hitting by Chigumbura who made 54 of just 26 balls. India could manage just 168 in their 20 overs as the Zimbabwe bowlers managed to strike at regular intervals and in the end prevent MS Dhoni from hitting the winning runs during the final over.
Dhoni remained unbeaten on 19 with a strike rate just over 110. Questions will once again be raised about Dhoni’s performance with the bat and his ability to lead the side as losing to Zimbabwe will not sit well with the fans at home. Dhoni came down hard on his team during the post match interview but the fact remains that Dhoni could have taken India home easily if he was able to score faster.
In a post match statement, Dhoni said “We did not play to potential. A lot of wickets were not full-fledged shots, more like catching practice. you may be doing well in the domestic circuit but there is more pressure when you go from India A to India. Good learning curve for them. Lots of errors committed by the batsmen, We were not playing with our first XI in the bowling department. Our lengths were not right.”
India will want to bounce back in Harare and win the second T20 but Zimbabwe will now be confident that they can beat this Indian side. Should Zimbabwe pull off yet another win, they will win the T20 series and certainly put more pressure on MS Dhoni to give up the captaincy.
Dhoni will most likely make a couple of changes to the T20 line-up in an effort to bolster the bowling department. B Sran and D Kulkarni could be brought in to replace J Unadkat and R Dhawan. India will have to win their next two T20 matches in order to win the series and the pressure on the young side will tell if they are ready for international cricket.