After a completing a 3-0 whitewash over Zimbabwe over 50 overs, India’s cricket team will aim to continue to demonstrate its superiority over its host when beginning a three-match Twenty20 series on Saturday. Despite taking an experimental side and missing its star names, with the exception of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India not only won all three One-Day Internationals against Zimbabwe, but did so by emphatic margins.
In all three matches the scenario was the same, with India bowling Zimbabwe out cheaply before rattling off the modest total required with plenty of wickets and balls to spare. And the third match, played on Tuesday, was the most one-sided of the lot as India ran out 10-wicket winners, with more than 28 overs remaining.
Thus far one man in particular has caught the eye and put himself in the frame heading toward greater challenges ahead. Kannaur Lokesh Rahul made his Test debut for India last year, scoring centuries against both Sri Lanka and Australia. But it was only after a fine season in the Indian Premier League with the Royal Challengers Bangalore this year that he came into the frame for India’s limited-overs selections.
With 196 runs in three innings in Zimbabwe, the 24-year-old has further demonstrated that he is a man for all formats, something Rahul has relished proving to the skeptics.
“To all those guys who have been branded as Test players before, I want to tell that there will be coaches and players in the dressing room who can tell you that you are not good enough for a certain format,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “I never thought that they were right. I knew I was blessed with certain skills.
“My advice will be to not listen to people. Of course you have to listen to your coaches and elders but you don’t have to listen to what they say all the time. You know what’s best for your game. Go out there, be yourself and express yourself. And when someone says you can’t do something, prove them wrong.”
Rahul is now set to get the opportunity to demonstrate he is equally at home at international level in the 20-over format, with India picking the same squad for both series. Zimbabwe, though, will be hoping for a chance for a complete refresh.
Such was the desperation of its performance in the ODI series that the fans in Harare turned on its own team, furthering an uneasy atmosphere around a team that could once mix it with some of the world’s best.
There will be hopes of a fresh start with a change of format, but Zimbabwe will find it tough against an India team made up of players who have all had recent experience in the IPL. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s form has been little better over 20 overs than it has been over 50. At the World Twenty20 in March, the Chevrons failed to even make it to the Super10 stage where the big guns entered after being eliminated in the preliminaries by Afghanistan.
And Zimbabwe’s ambitions to restore some pride in the series with India have been dealt a further blow by injuries to batsmen Craig Ervine and Sean Williams.
India vs Zimbabwe T20 Series Schedule
First T20I: Saturday, 7 a.m. EDT
Second T20I: Monday, 7 a.m. EDT
Third T20I: Wednesday, 7 a.m. EDT
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