Zimbabwe end T20 World Cup campaign with defeat to India
India – 186-5 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 61*, Lokesh Rahul 51, Virat Kohli 26; Sean Williams 2/9, Sikandar Raza 1/18, Richard Ngarava 1/44)
Zimbabwe – 115 all out in 17.2 overs (Ryan Burl 35, Sikandar Raza 34, Craig Ervine 13; Ravichandran Ashwin 3/22, Mohammed Shami 2/14, Hardik Pandya 2/16)
India won by 71 runs
Two fighting innings of 35 and 34 from Ryan Burl and Sikandar Raza provided Zimbabwe with consolation as they lost their final ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 match against India by 71 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
For this game Zimbabwe brought in Wellington Masakadza and Tony Munyonga to replace Luke Jongwe and Milton Shumba.
India decided to bat on winning the toss and Zimbabwe began well when Richard Ngarava opened with a maiden over to Lokesh Rahul.
Their captain, Rohit Sharma, was more quickly under way as he scored 15 off 13 balls before Masakadza came into the game by catching him on the square-leg boundary from a pull stroke off Blessing Muzarabani to make it 27 for one in the fourth over.
Virat Kohli joined Rahul and with fluent batting they took the score to 87 in the 12th over before Kohli drove a catch off Sean Williams to Burl at long-off, having scored 26 off 25 balls.
In the following over Rahul went, also caught at long-off, this time by Masakadza off Raza’s bowling for 51 off 35 balls – 95 for three.
Zimbabwe made it three wickets in three overs when Rishabh Pant (3) tried a slog-sweep off Williams and was brilliantly caught by Burl who had a long run and dive round the boundary, making India 101 for four.
The innings could now go either way, and after 15 overs the score was only 107 for four.
Unfortunately, as soon as the pace bowlers returned to bowl the final five overs, India flourished, as Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya hit out brilliantly, with the cheapest of these overs going for 12 runs.
The final over from Ngarava went for 21 runs, although it did cost the wicket of Pandya, caught by Muzarabani at short third man from a thick top edge, having made 18 off 18 balls.
It was Suryakumar’s brilliant innings that was the killer, as he smashed 61 off 25 balls, the final delivery of the innings going for his fourth six over fine leg – he also hit six fours.
This made the final total 186 for five wickets, 79 coming from the last five.
Zimbabwe’s three pace bowlers were hit for 128 runs off 12 overs for two wickets, while the spinners were more economical and effective in the eight overs they were given, taking three wickets among them – two of them to Williams for nine runs in just two overs – for 53 runs.
To challenge the India score, the Zimbabwe batters had to attack the bowling successfully from the onset, but they endured a difficult start.
Wessly Madhevere slashed the first ball of the innings, from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, into the covers where Kohli picked up a brilliant low catch.
Regis Chakabva faced six balls without scoring, being bowled by Arshdeep Singh as he tried to drive the last of them.
Craig Ervine and Sean Williams therefore came together at two for two, having no option but to hit out from the start.
Williams was caught from a slash to third man off Mohammad Shami for 11, while Ervine chipped a return catch to Pandya for 13, and the score in the seventh over was 31 for four, all to different bowlers.
It became 36 for five when Munyonga was out lbw to Shami for five in the eighth over.
At least now came a very good face-saving partnership, with Raza standing in the breach as so often, and at last Ryan Burl found his batting form.
Burl hit a six and five fours in scoring 35 off 22 balls before playing a ball from Ravi Ashwin on to his stumps, and when he left in the 14th over the score was a much less dire 96 for six wickets.
Raza took the score past 100 in the following over, and it made an interesting comparison: after 15 overs India were 107 for four, and at the same stage Zimbabwe 104 for six.
Without addition, though, Masakadza was caught at extra cover off Ashwin for one, bringing in the tail to join Raza.
Ngarava was bowled second ball by Ashwin for one, but all hope of a respectable score in the final overs went when Raza in the next over miscued a pull off Pandya and was caught on the midwicket boundary for 34, scored off 24 balls.
Three balls later Tendai Chatara was caught and bowled by Axar Patel for four to make Zimbabwe all out in the 18th over for 115.
Ashwin took three wickets for 22 in four overs, while there were two wickets each for Shami and Pandya.
At least Zimbabwe thrived off the left-arm spin of Azar Patel, whose only wicket came against 40 runs conceded in 3.2 overs.