Harare: After ensuring a resounding clean-sweep over Zimbabwe in the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series, a confident young Indian side will aim to consolidate their dominance over the hosts in the first match of the two Twenty20 Internationals to be played at the Harare Sports Club here on Friday.
India clinched the ODI series 3-0. The visitors were a superior side in the 50-over campaign winning the first ODI by four runs, the second by 62 runs and the third by 83 runs.
The visitors will have very little homework to do after putting up an impressive show both with the bat and bowl in the ODI series.
But the hosts, swept aside in the ODI series, will look to making a strong comeback and proving themselves in the T20 series.
Several Indian batsmen, namely Ambati Rayudu, skipper Ajinkya Rahane, Kedar Yadav and Murali Vijay, were among runs in the ODIs. Allrounder Stuart Binny and bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, spinners Axar Patel and Harbhajan Singh were successful at taking wickets.
While Rayudu, who scored a match-winning hundred in the first ODI, got injured and returned home, his replacement Manish Pandey chipped in, hitting a useful 71 on his debut to help India win the third ODI.
India will aim to capitalise on their batting strength to put on an authoritative show, hoping their batsmen become more aggressive in the shortest format of the game.
ALl eyes will be on skipper Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay and their ability to provide strong starts on foreign pitches. Senior batter Robin Uthappa will also like to start scoring after missing out in the ODIs.
Zimbabwe will hope their star hitter Chamu Chibhabha comes good and single handedly lead them to victories.
The Teams (from):
India: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Robin Uthappa, Murali Vijay, Stuart Binny, Manoj Tiwary, Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Sandeep Sharma, Sanju Samson and Mohit Sharma.
Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (captain), Regis Chakabva, Chamu Chibhabha, Graeme Cremer, Neville Madziva, Hamilton Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Tinashe Panyangara, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller and Sean Williams.