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12-Jun-2010 15:26:00 GMT
Zimbabwe v India, 1st Twenty20, Harare

Pathan & Spinners Take India to Comfortable Win

Harare: India overcame a shaky start to register their first win over Zimbabwe on the current tour as they beat the hosts by six wickets in the first Twenty20 International match on Saturday.

Chasing a modest 112 to win, India overhauled the target with five overs to spare with Yusuf Pathan (36) and Virat Kohli (27) finishing off the game for the visitors.

Earlier, shaking off the tri-series rust, Indian bowlers showed discipline and restricted Zimbabwe to a meagre 111 for nine at Harare Sports Club.

Paceman R Vinay Kumar (3/24) was the most successful bowler with three wickets while Ashok Dinda (2/27) and Pragyan Ojha (2/11) accounted for two victims apiece.

During India's chase, big-hitting Pathan and youngster Kohli shared an unbeaten 64-run stand for the fifth wicket to rescue India from a precarious 48 for 4.

Pathan's 23-ball knock contained two fours and three sixes while Kohli faced 22 balls with three fours and a six.

India, like their opponents, began poorly as they lost openers -- Murali Vijay (5) and Naman Ojha (2) to paceman Chris Mpofu by the third over.

Skipper Suresh Raina (28) played a good hand in the middle order to re-build the innings with Rohit Sharma (10).

However, both of them returned to the dug out in the eighth over with spinner Ray Price (2/24) getting rid of them in the eighth over.

It became jittery for India but Pathan and Kohli ensured that their side do not end up facing more humiliation.

Earlier, Chamu Chibhabha (40) and Craig Ervine (30) stood tall amid ruins for the hosts, as their middle and lower order collapsed after a sound start.

Opting to field, Vinay Kumar gave India a perfect start and landed the first blow to the hosts as early as in the fourth ball of the match when he got rid of Hamilton Masakadza (1), caught by skipper Suresh Raina at extra cover.

Vinay was hit for a four and two sixes in his next over by Chibhabha and Brendan Taylor (15) but the paceman got his revenge when he caught the latter plumb in front of the wicket in the last ball of the same over.

Despite two setbacks, the hosts were off to a flier with Dinda and Vinay Kumar leaking 41 runs off the first four overs.

With runs flowing freely from the pacers, Raina introduced R Ashwin into the attack and the off-spinner responded instantly with the wicket of Tatenda Taibu (4), who found Rohit Sharma at mid-on while attempting a big shot.

After the early onslaught, runs were difficult to come by with Raina pressing into service another spinner -- Pragyan Ojha, but Chibhabha, somehow, managed to find the odd boundary.

With spinners ruling the roost in the low and slow Harare Sports Ground pitch, Raina got tempted to use more of slow bowlers and the decision paid off well with Piyush Chawla trapping dangerous-looking Chibhabha, who entertained with five fours and a six during his 30-ball stay.

Ojha then dismissed rival skipper Elton Chigumbura (3) and Greg Lamb (0) in space of three deliveries to leave the hosts gasping at 81 for six.

Dinda then did an Ojha by scalping Ervine and Raymond Price in the penultimate over of the innings.

Brief scores
111 for 9 (Chibhabha 40, Vinay 3-24, Ojha 2-11)
India 112 for 4 (Yusuf 37*, Price 2-24)
Result India won by six wickets
MOM Yusuf Pathan (India)

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