Harare, June 22 (IANS) Riding on Kedar Jadhav’s brilliant half-century, India managed to post 138/6 against Zimbabwe in the third and final T20 International here on Wednesday.
Under pressure after a batting collapse of sorts, the Maharashtra wicketkeeper-batsman resurrected the innings with a 42-ball 58 after the visitors were put into bat.
Fresh from a 10-wicket mauling of the hosts in the second match, India found themselves in a spot of bother after losing in-form opener Mandeep Singh (4) cheaply while Lokesh Rahul (22) and Manish Pandey departed off consecutive balls.
Rahul’s 20-ball knock was laced with three fours and a six before the right-hander was bowled by Neville Madziva to reduce India to 27/2 while Pandey joined him the next ball, thanks to a brilliant throw at the stumps from Elton Chigumbura.
The failure of the top order provided ample opportunity to the middle order batsmen comprising Ambati Rayudu, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Jadhav.
Rayudu, who had a successful run in the One-Day International (ODI) series, scored a 26-ball 20 but more importantly chipped in with Jadhav for a 49-run stand for the fourth wicket. The duo took India past the 50-run mark in the 10th over.
But Dhoni’s form with the willow continued to desert him with the Ranchi stumper falling for a 13-ball nine.
Jadhav then paired with left-arm spinner Axar Patel (18) to put on 29 runs for the sixth wicket as India reached the triple figures in the 18th over.
In his attempt to accelerate the scoring, Jadhav who hammered Tendai Chatara for two consecutive fours and a six fell just after reaching his half-century. His knock was laced with seven boundaries and a six.
Patel, who struck a six off the penultimate ball of the innings, added 16 runs with Dhawal Kulkarni (1) for the seventh wicket to take India to some sort of respectability.
For Zimbabwe, medium pacer Donald Tiripano was the pick of the bowlers with three scalps while Madziva and skipper Graeme Cremer chipped in with one wicket apiece.
The series is squared 1-1 with Zimbabwe winning the first match while India bounced back in the second.