Harare, July 19 (IANS) Opener Chamu Chibhabha’s fighting knock of 51-ball 67 lifted Zimbabwe to 145/7 in 20 overs against India in the second and final Twenty20 International (T20I) at the Harare Sports Club here on Sunday.
Right-hander Chibhabha, who registered his fourth T20I fifty, waged a lone battle as Indian bowlers took wickets at regular intervals to keep the hosts in check. The 28-year-old in-form batsman completed his half-century in 38 deliveries and hit nine fours during his stay.
Chibhabha, who scored two fifties in the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series, and Hamilton Masakadza (19) started positively. But India drew the first blood when the Masakadza edged a medium pacer Sandeep Sharma delivery to wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa off the second ball of the third over.
Later, medium pacer Mohit Sharma reduced Zimbabwe to 2/48 in the sixth over by getting rid of Sikandar Raza (8), who captained the hosts after regular skipper Elton Chigumbura got injured. The right-handed batsman played but not with enough force to beat debutant Sanju Samson at deep third man.
Chibhabha found support from Sean Williams (17) and they managed a 37-run third-wicket partnership that ended when the left-hander offered a return catch to young left-arm spinner Axar Patel.
The hosts’ innings struggled even in the death overs with Charles Conventry (4) failing to trouble the Indians as he was ruled leg before wicket (LBW) against all-rounder Stuart Binny. Chibhabha also perished, being bowled by medium fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bhuvneshwar repeated his act when he dismantled the stumps of Craig Ervine (7). Lower-order bat Prosper Utseya (1) was dismissed by Mohit.
For India, Bhuvneshwar and Mohit took two wickets each, while Binny, Sandeep and Axar picked a wicket apiece.