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India suffer shock defeat against Zimbabwe; What went wrong & what they need to work on?

IND vs ZIM, 1st T20I: Team India lost to Zimbabwe in first game. What went wrong for India and what do they need to work ahead of the next game.

IND vs ZIM, 1st T20I: Team India lost to Zimbabwe in 1st T20I |  Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©X_Twitter)
IND vs ZIM, 1st T20I: Team India lost to Zimbabwe (Photo: ©X/Twitter)

Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 115 for 9 (Madande 29*, Bishnoi 4/13) beat India 102 (Gill 31, Chatara 3/16, Raza 3/25) by 13 runs

A new-look Team India suffered a shocking loss to Zimbabwe in the first T20I on Saturday. India’s XI had as many as three debutants and was led by Shubman Gill. Despite their rich IPL experience, India came second best to Zimbabwe on a wicket that helped the spinners. 

Nevertheless, the young Team India will take a lot of lessons from this loss, and hopefully come better prepared to tackle the Zimbabwe challenge in the second T20I on Sunday. Here are the areas where India faltered and must work on ahead of the second T20I.

Pacers lack discipline, more variations preferred  

Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan, who were the travelling reserves for India in the 2024 World T20, didn’t have sufficient match practice for a month. They looked rusty in the first T20I against Zimbabwe. They leaked runs upfront on a wicket that was not so easy to read as the pitch was slow and was holding up well. Khaleel gave away runs at an economy rate of 9.33 when bowling with the new ball, while Avesh gave away runs at 7.25 in the middle-overs. 

It was spinners Ravi Bishnoi (4/13) and Washington Sundar (2/11) who helped India restrict Zimbabwe to 115/9. Among the pacers, Mukesh Kumar walked away with a respectable figure of 1/16 at an economy rate of 5.33. 

Ahead of the second T20I, India pacers must look to be more accurate and disciplined in their bowling. As the pitches are generally going to be slower in the series, pacers must look forward to including more variations with subtle change of pace. This loss would be a good learning experience for the second-string India pacers to pull up their socks and bowl better in the series.

Batters hit out rather than respecting the conditions

India batters were guilty of going hard after the bowling, looking to conjure boundaries on a slow track where the ball was not coming nicely onto the bat. And hence, the batting line-up paid the price with five out of the top six batters failing to move into double digits. India were reduced to 47/6 in a pursuit of a small target. If it was not for Sundar’s 27, India would have folded for below 100. 

India batters must now look to spend some time in the middle. They must get used to the pace of the wicket, and curb their natural stroke-play as hitting across the line won’t be easy on these slow pitches. The need of the hour will be to rotate the strike, punish the bad balls, while playing on merit of the ball throughout the innings. On these slow pitches, a total of 140 or above is defendable. Hence, India’s new-look batters must respect the pitch, conditions and the opponents to square the series in the second T20I.


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