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Shubhman Gill says, `‘From openers to bowlers, all contributed’


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India captain Shubman Gill hailed their “remarkable” team effort on a two-paced wicket as they defeated Zimbabwe by 23 runs in third T20I to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series here on Wednesday.

Return to form 

The elegant Indian opener returned to form with a 49-ball 66 to power India to 182 for four before the visiting bowlers restricted the hosts to 159 for six. This was India’s second successive win, having bounced back from the first match reversal to snatch the lead. India had made a resounding comeback in the second T20I where they posted a mammoth 234 for 2.

“It was a crucial match for us and the way we started with batting and bowling, it was remarkable,” Gill said. Asked if he was a little disappointed that the team couldn’t reach 200 in the third T20, Gill said: “The wicket was a bit double paced, the odd ball was gripping and it was not easy to hit the length ball. We just wanted to keep hitting the length with the ball as well. We know if there is something in the wicket, it will be there for the bowlers. Everyone has contributed, right from openers to bowlers.”

Gill inducted World Cup winners Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (12 not out off 7) and Shivam Dube into the playing XI, leaving out Riyan Parag. Sanju Samson came to bat at No. 5 with four specialist openers Jaiswal, Gill, Abhishek Sharma (10 off 9) and Gaikwad occupying the top four positions respectively. Jaiswal, who did not get a game in India’s triumphant campaign in the T20 World Cup, was happy to be back in the middle and went for his shots from the start. Pacer Blessing Muzarabani (2-25) once again got the extra bounce from length and was the pick of the bowlers.

Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza rued his team’s fielding lapses. “I think it’s the fielding again, we are proud of our fielding, but the wheels came off today. We gave away 20 extra runs and we lost by 23 runs,” he said.

Yashasvi starts well 

Earlier, Gill (66 off 49), Yashasvi Jaiswal (36 off 27) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (49 off 28) propelled India to 182 for four after the visitors opted to bat on a fresh pitch. Zimbabwe were never really in the run chase despite an entertaining effort from No. 4 Dion Myers (65 not out off 49), ending at 159 for six in their stipulated 20 overs.

Off-spinner Washington Sundar, who is likely to play a bigger role in India’s T20 set-up after the retirement of Ravindra Jadeja, struck thrice while Avesh Khan (2-39) took a couple of wickets. Sundar, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, said: “It was a better wicket. There was something more for the bowlers in the first two games. The way the Zimbabwe batters played, did put pressure on us. We want to finish the series on Saturday.” 

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