India have by far been the more dominating side in the series © Getty Images
India have by far been the more dominating side in the series © Getty Images

India and Zimbabwe face off in the second and final Twenty20 International (T20I) at the Harare Sports Club in Harare on Sunday. The two sides meet after clashing in the first match of the two-T20I series held at the same venue as all of India’s matches in their ongoing tour, in which India coasted to an easy 54-run victory. The match will be India’s final engagement in Zimbabwe, before they fly to Sri Lanka for the three-match Test series. India have the opportunity to preserve a clean-sheet with a win in the upcoming game, having whitewashed the One-Day International (ODI) series 3-0 earlier. ALSO READ: Zimbabwe will continue to struggle in international cricket if they don’t shape up

For the Indians, everything has been going as per plan so far in the series. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane has been winning all the tosses so far, and electing to bat. Barring the first ODI, which was perhaps the only interesting encounter of the tour so far, India have posted totals that eventually proved to be well out-of-reach for the hosts. ALSO READ: India vs Zimbabwe, 1st T20I at Harare, Highlights

Ambati Rayudu was the top-scorer in the 50-over series, including a century. Despite him being ruled out of the T20Is due to injury, the visitors did not exhibit many signs of missing him as Rahane stepped up along with Murali Vijay, Robin Uthappa, etc. With just one more game left, India might want to test young Sanju Samson, who has shown great promise with the bat as well as with the gloves while playing for India U-19s as well as for Rajasthan Royals, and thus deserves a debut in place of perhaps Kedar Jadhav, who flopped with the bat in the first T20I.

The bowlers too, have been decisive for the most part in the tour, once again barring the first ODI. Both the pacers as well as spinners rejoiced during the one-dayers, before the spin duo of Akshar Patel and Harbhajan Singh ruined a strong start by Zimbabwe in the opening T20I, and laid the foundation for an easy win. While the two should be retained for the second and final game of the tour, the powers should maybe give Dhawal Kulkarni, who was expensive in the first ODI but economical in the following match, another try. He could be brought in place of either Sandeep Sharma or Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with the latter being the likelier candidate. ALSO READ: Ajinkya Rahane lauds Indian batsmen after win over Zimbabwe in 1st T20 at Harare

As for the Zimbabweans, nothing has been going right. The fact that they are struggling to register a single victory against the second-string Indian side does not bode well for the team if they are to rebuild themselves after the disappointing exit of Brendan Taylor. Among the several issues that the hosts have to answer is that of discipline. The Zimbabweans conceded 25 extras, which is unpardonable in the 20-over game. Not to mention, sloppy fielding, with wicketkeeper Charles Coventry being a major culprit in this. Last, but not the least, the hosts have to address their collapsing like a pack of cards after getting off to good starts. Maybe the pressure of the target has been influencing their batting so far in the series. Who knows what their performance will be like if they are to bat first for a change. Let us see if their luck finally shines for once in the series or not.


Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (c), Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Regis Chakabva (wk), Chamu Chibhabha, Graeme Cremer, Neville Madziva, Hamilton Masakadza, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.

India: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Kedar Jadhav (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Stuart Binny, Harbhajan Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Akshar Patel, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Murali Vijay.

TIME: 13.00 Local | 11.00 GMT | 16.30 IST

(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)