India eased past Zimbabwe in the first T20I © AFP
India eased past Zimbabwe in the first T20I © AFP

India glided to an easy victory against Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) at Harare. The visitors registered a comfortable margin of 54 runs to go 1-0 up in the two-match series. After winning the toss, India did not face many hurdles with the bat, with the Zimbabwean bowling being wayward with as many as 25 extras being conceded. While Zimbabwe were off to a good start, they were capitulated by the spin-duo of Harbhajan Singh and Akshar Patel. Amit Banerjee picks the top five moments from the match that saw India literally outplay the Zimbabweans in all departments.

1. Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay guide India to a strong start: After seeing off a couple of deliveries, India were off to a strong start thanks to Vijay and Rahane. While the India skipper was the first to start flexing his muscles, he was overtaken by Vijay in no time. The highlight of the partnership was Vijay taking on Taurai Muzarabani in the fifth over, collecting 17 runs off it including a six and two boundaries. The pair were going for a lot of risky singles throughout, which eventually proved fatal for Vijay as he was run-out on a score of 34 off 19 balls. READ: India register highest away T20I score, during clash vs Zimbabwe

2. Graeme Cremer’s wicket-maiden slows India down: Murali Vijay’s wicket was undoubtedly a rash one, it was not expected of the visitors to lose their momentum as yet mainly due to the presence of Rahane at the crease. Graeme Cremer, who had conceded seven runs off his first over, bowled a brilliant second one in which Rahane top-edged a well-flighted delivery towards point, where Hamilton Masakadza held on to a fine catch. The over ended as a wicket-maiden, putting the brakes on India’s aggressive approach, if only temporarily. READ: Stuart Binny proving his worth as premier all-rounder for India

3. Zimbabwe begin well with the bat: Having restricted India to 178, Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha got Zimbabwe off to a flyer. After scoring two off the first over, Sandeep Sharma bowled a disastrous first over in T20Is by conceding 16 off it. The pair brought up the 50-run stand at the end of the seventh over. While the hosts were once again off to a good start with the bat, it remained to be seen if they could handle the Indian spinners, which they clearly couldn’t in the latter overs.

4. Indian spinners run amok: The hosts began to crumble once Akshar Patel and Harbhajan Singh were introduced into the attack. Harbhajan got the much-needed breakthrough by dismissing Chibhabha, who went down the track and smashed the ball towards long-on, where Manish Pandey taking a fine running catch in the region. From 55 for no loss, Zimbabwe collapsed to 68 for four. READ: India vs Zimbabwe 2015: India’s lower-order batting blues continue

5. Prosper Utseya, Neville Madziva prevent complete humiliation: Harbhajan and Akshar had done their damage, and Mohit Sharma too chipped in with a wicket. At 98 for seven, it seemed that the Zimbabweans were likely to be bowled out soon. Utseya and Madziva however, prevented any further wickets from falling, with the latter scoring 12 runs off the final over of the match.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)