India survived a mighty last-ballscare before clinching the T20 series 2-1 with a nervythree-run victory over a spirited Zimbabwe in the third andfinal Twenty20 International here today.
The series decider went right down to the last ball afterZimbabwe restricted India to 138 for six and got close to thetarget before ending at 135 for six. Earlier, Kedar Jadhavbailed India out of trouble with a timely 58 off 42 balls.
Zimbabwe, needing 21 runs off the final over, were intouching distance of a famous series win until Barinder Sranheld his nerve for a dramatic finish to the game.
Elton Chigumbura (16) and Timycen Maruma (23 not out)almost pulled off the chase in the final over as Sran concededa six off the first ball, followed by two fours including oneon a no-ball.
A four was needed off the final ball but Chigumbura endedup hitting a low full straight into the hands of YuzvendraChahal at cover, triggering wild celebrations by the awayside.
The second-string Indian team had to work a lot harder inthe T20 series in comparison to three ODIs where they blankedZimbabwe easily. The home team made a confident start to the run chase,reaching 40 for one in the first six overs.
After the early departure of Chamu Chibhabha, theexperienced duo of Vusi Sibanda (28) and Hamilton Masakadza(15) looked comfortable against the Indian pace attack.
Sibanda came out with an aggressive intent and putpressure on the bowlers especially Dhawal Kulkarni, who washammered for three consecutive boundaries in his second over.
Sran, who ended with figures of 4/10 on his T20 debut onMonday, was not at his best today even though he provided thefirst breakthrough and held his nerve in the final over.
The hosts looked threatening with Sibanda in the middlebut his and Masakadzas fall in quick succession turned thematch in favour of India.
Masakadza was adjudged lbw after attempting a sweep offleft-arm spinner Axar Patel before Kulkarni trapped Sibanda infront of the stumps.
Peter Moor got into the act after Sibandas dismissal,punishing a wayward Chahal for three sixes. Chahal offered acouple of long hops and Moor was quick to deposit them intothe stands over mid wicket.
The leggie finally removed Moor but the target was verymuch within reach as Zimbabwe needed 51 off the last 36 balls.
However, two tight overs by Jaspirt Bumrah and Patel madelife tougher for the opposition, who had to depend on MalcolmWaller and Chigumbura.