India take series lead over Zimbabwe with all-round show in third T20

India outplayed Zimbabwe by 23 runs

Shubman Gillin plays a shot during the third T20 match between Zimbabwe and India | AP Shubman Gillin plays a shot during the third T20 match between Zimbabwe and India | AP

Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad produced high-quality knocks before the bowlers did their part as India outplayed Zimbabwe by 23 runs in the third T20 in Harare on Wednesday.

Gill (66 off 49), Yashasvi Jaiswal (36 off 27) and Gaikwad (49 off 28) propelled India to 182 for four against Zimbabwe after the visitors opted to bat on a fresh pitch.

Zimbabwe were never really in the run chase despite an entertaining effort from number four Dion Myers (65 not out 49), ending at 159 for six in their stipulated 20 overs.

Washington Sundar, who is likely to play a bigger role in India's T20 set-up after the retirement of Ravindra Jadeja, struck thrice while Avesh Khan took a couple of wickets.

The fourth T20 of the five-match series will be staged here on Saturday, July 13. After a loss in the series opener, India have restored normal service with back-to-back victories.

After Avesh Khan bounced out opener Wessly Madhevere in the second over, the wickets kept falling for the home team. However, Zimbabwe did well to stead the ship after losing their first five wickets for 39 runs. The 77-run stand off 57 balls between Myers and Clive Madande (37 off 26) put much needed life into the game.

Earlier, Gill-led India made some interesting selection calls. They duly inducted World Cup winners Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (12 not out off 7) and Shivam Dube into the playing eleven, leaving out the likes of Riyan Parag in the middle order.

Sanju came to bat at number five with four specialist openers Jaiswal, Gill, Abhishek Sharma (10 off 9) and Gaikwad occupying the top four positions respectively.

Jaiswal, who did not get a game in India's triumphant campaign in the T20 World Cup, was happy to be back in the middle and went for his shots from the get go.

The southpaw collected couple of fours and a six over deep-midwicket in the opening over bowled by off-spinner Brian Bennett to set the tone.

Gill began with a gorgeous on drive off left-arm pacer Richard Ngarava before pulling him for a six over fine-leg.

Zimbabwe were poor in the field to say the least, conceding extra runs and grassing regulation catches throughout the innings. Pacer Blessing Muzarabani (2/25) once again got the extra bounce from length and was the pick of the bowlers.

After racing to 49 for no loss in four overs, India could not maintain that tempo reaching 55 in the powerplay with both openers in the centre.

Zimbabwe skipper Sikandar Raza, who impressed again with the ball, got the breakthrough for his team as Jaiswal's reverse sweep went straight into the hands of the fielder at backward point. Last game's centurion Abhishek did not last long and was holed out in the deep off Raza.

Gaikwad, finding himself at an unusual batting position, was able to milk the spinners in the middle overs and ended with four boundaries and three sixes.   

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp