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Match Preview – India vs Zimbabwe, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022/23, 42nd Match, Group 2

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Despite being a top player in their group, with only one game left for each team, India is still unsure of a place in the semi-finals. If South Africa and Pakistan win their respective matches on Sunday, India must beat Zimbabwe in Melbourne to qualify for the knockouts. Making it to the last four will also be a kind of redemption for them, following their early exit from last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE.

Although India has taken three wins in four matches, it has not been a smooth ride. In their opening match against Pakistan, they needed a Virat Kohli masterclass to give them an unforgettable victory. Then, in their previous match, Bangladesh needed 85 from nine overs with all ten wickets left before it slipped. Zimbabwe is not a pushover either and India, as R Ashwin said in the pre-match press conference, will have to be “as clinical as possible”.

Zimbabwe may be close to being out of the tournament after their defeat to the Netherlands, but they’ve put in some spirited performances all along. After dominating the qualifying tournament, they led their group in the first round of the World Cup, beating Pakistan in the Super 12s to give themselves a shot at the semi-finals. However, their batting disappointed them in the following games.

With their attacking style of play, Zimbabwe has won millions of hearts, especially at home. On Sunday, they have the chance to sign off in style against India in what could be a full house at the MCG.

Shape guide

India WLWWL (last five T20Is completed, most recent first)
Zimbabwe LLWWL

In the spotlight

Rohit Sharma scored a strong half century against the Netherlands. KL Rahul hit 50 off 32 balls against Bangladesh. But overall they have not given India a good start. In four matches, India’s average opening score is 13 with a run rate of 4.27. Only Pakistan and Namibia have had worse starts in the tournament. Zimbabwe’s fast bowlers will test the India openers again, especially if they hit first.

In seven innings at the World Cup, Regis Chakabva scored only 45 runs with an average of 6.42 and a batting frequency of 77.58. The wicketkeeper batter started the tournament at the top of the ranking before being moved to number 6 for a few games. Against the Netherlands he came in at number 3, but scored only 5 from 16 balls despite two missed chances. Chakabva is someone who can score quickly, and running his bat can help alleviate Zimbabwe’s hitting problems.

Team news

Barring late injury or illness, India is unlikely to make any changes to their playing XI. The same can be said for Zimbabwe.

India (probably): 1 KL Rahul, 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Arshdeep Singh

Zimbabwe (probably): 1 Wessly Madhevere, 2 Craig Ervine (capt), 3 Regis Chakabva (wk), 4 Sean Williams, 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Milton Shumba, 7 Ryan Burl, 8 Luke Jongwe, 9 Richard Ngarava, 10 Tendai Chatara, 11 Bless Muzarabani

Location and conditions

Of the five Melbourne games so far in this World Cup, only the first has been unaffected by rain. The last three were washed away and the previous one, between England and Ireland, was cut short. Fortunately, no rain is forecast on Sunday. Since it will be a new pitch, you can expect some help from the sailors, but the batters should enjoy the ball hitting the bat.

Statistics and trivia

  • This is the first time India and Zimbabwe will face each other in a T20 World Cup.
  • Virat Kohli is 68 short to become the first batter to reach 4000 runs in T20Is.
  • Suryakumar Yadav (965) is 35 away from completing 1,000 T20I runs in 2022. Mohammad Rizwan is the only other batter to have achieved that in a year (1326 runs in 2021).
  • Before 2022, Sikandar Raza had 524 runs in 42 T20Is with an average of 13.43 and a strike rate of 106.93. So far this year he has broken 701 runs in 23 T20Is, averaging 35.05 and scoring 151.40. Five of its six T20I half-centuries have come to 2022.

Quotes

“It [match-ups] is a feature that exists and is definitely paying off. But as a gaming unit, just to believe in that and say that this is what it is and that this guy will bowl against this person, you can’t work like that. But I think it gives a tactical advantage to teams.”
R Ashwin on match ups

“This is a great opportunity to bowl against some of the best guys in the world so there’s no reason why our guys wouldn’t really want to go out and produce the goods. How often do you get the chance to put Virat Kohli in so I I’m pretty sure our fast bowlers are eager to go tomorrow.”
Captain Zimbabwe Craig Ervine

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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