HARARE: India are on the verge of completing a total clean sweep against Zimbabwe.
The second and final T20I today offers the hosts their only chance of redemption. They were whitewashed in the three ODIs preceding the first T20I, where they were completely outplayed again.
Captain Ajinkya Rahane would count on the hunger of the players to make a mark in the last game of the tour.
Zimbabwe would desperately seek to restore some pride, but their batting was disappointing in the first game, as admitted by skipper Elton Chigumbura.
That India had five debutants in the previous T20I did little to breach the difference in class between the two sides. The hosts will need to make most of all the chances that come their way if they are to square the series.
Boosting the morale of a beleaguered side won’t be easy but Zimbabwe will have to pick themselves up and give it their all for one last time.
The incentives are high. Beating a team like India would do a world of good for the team. It is important for the team to fire as a unit, particularly the batting department.
A T20I game can be won by one good innings, but seniors such as Chigumbura and Chamu Chibabha will have to lead the way on that front.
The bowlers have fared better although they conceded 178 in the first game. At one stage, India had the right platform to post a score in excess of 200. That they were restricted was an achievement in itself.
Despite the loss in the first game, the batting order that was present offers the hosts the best chance of making an impact. And given that the bowling department did not fare too badly, that is unlikely to be tinkered with either.
The visitors fielded a team filled with newcomers and there are a few more warming the bench. Despite the temptation to give those on the fringes a chance at the highest level, India’s primary goal would be to win the series.