India will want to continue winning momentum against Zimbabwe in T20I series as well © AFP
India will want to continue winning momentum against Zimbabwe in T20I series as well © AFP

After the ODI series win, India are all set to lock horns with Zimbabwe for 1st T20I at Harare Sports Club on Saturday. MS Dhoni along with his young bunch have been rewarded with an ODI clean sweep on foreign soil and will aim to continue the form in T20Is as well. Dhoni, who is known for trying various combinations, might give a chance to those players who were not seen with the bat in the ODI series. T20 cricket can be slightly different. Last time India and Zimbabwe played a T20I series, the spoils were shared as Zimbabwe managed to win the second match after conceding the first. India are riding high on confidence with series of victories in shortest format this year and with some experienced IPL players in the side, it only gets better. Here is the probable XI for India for 1st T20I: Full Cricket Scorecard: Zimbabwe vs India, 1st T20I, at Harare

Top-Order: KL Rahul has been successful at the opening position in T20 cricket as witnessed in IPL. He has carried that momentum in ODIs as well with his maiden century in the opening match. Playing his first T20I match, Rahul will aim to continue his thumping IPL form in foreign soil as well. As Faiz Fazal is new to the T20 domain, chances of Mandeep Singh is high to open along with Rahul, despite his maiden fifty in ODI series. Mandeep is known to be a powerful striker of the ball and he has showcased his talent as opening batsman for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in IPL. He has played 16 matches and garnered 432 runs in 2012 with his highest score being 75 against Deccan Chargers (DC) being duly rewarded with the ‘Man of the Match’ as well.

Next in line would be Manish Pandey. He has been the crisis man for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at No. 3 when the opening pair fell. This could be his moment to shine on the international front as well.

Middle-Order: With the way Ambati Rayudu played in IPL, he will be the next person in line. Rayudu has managed to play just three T20I matches for India so far and has not created an impact in any of these. He was a prolific run-getter for India in ODI series against Zimbabwe and hardly gave any opportunities to the other batsmen. This shows his caliber up the order and will look to continue his consistency in T20I series as well. At No.5 might be skipper MS Dhoni who is known as the best finisher of game while chasing down even the biggest targets on board – the most recent one being the 24 runs from 6 balls against KXIP just made him stand out from the rest. Can he repeat the same against Zimbabwe at Harare? Only time will tell. ALSO READ: 1st T20I, Preview: Rampant India eye Zimbabwe rout

In his previous outings for India, Kedar Jadhav had a very ordinary performance with bat as he fell for single digits in T20Is. This stands completely in contrast to his domestic and IPL performance, especially when he achieved his maiden IPL fifty for Delhi Daredevils (DD) in 2010 while playing against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) off just 29 deliveries. He also scored his maiden triple ton during Ranji Trophy 2012-13. He can surely bring some difference this time in the middle-over. Akshar Patel is also handy with his finishing role with some fours and sixes during pressure situations, although he never received the opportunity to come and bat during ODI series. In 2015, he was awarded ‘Man of the Match’ for scalping 3 for 17 at the end of his spells against Zimbabwe in T20I. Now with a hat-trick to his name from this edition of IPL, he would want to repeat the stance against hosts as well.

Bowling: Apart from Patel’s experience, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal will be the person to watch out for. He was the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2016, grabbing 21 wickets off 13 matches. He has shown his capability in the ODI series and will aim to sail through in T20Is as well. As for the Indian pacers, the spearhead-duties would lie on Jasprit Bumrah. After gaining international experience against Australia, he would want to put it to use against Zimbabwe as well. He is the leading wicket-taker in this tour so far and would want to end the series on a positive note. Barinder Sran has been handy in the ODI series, picking two wickets in two ODIs, although he remained wicket-less in the final ODI. As for Dhawal Kulkarni, his economical bowling skills will be vital in T20I series as witnessed in IPL 2016 Playoffs with his best figures in this edition of 4 for 14.

India Likely XI: KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Akshar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni, Barinder Sran

(Shruti Hariharan is a Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)