Zimbabwe will look to exploit home conditions against India: Zimbabwe spinner Masakadza

With Zimbabwe experiencing winter now, the home pacers might make use of their familiarity with the pitch to trouble Indian batters.
Zimbabwe players celebrate after winning against India in the first match of the T20I series.
Zimbabwe players celebrate after winning against India in the first match of the T20I series.(Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Having hurt the Shubman Gill-led India hard in the opening T20I in Harare, Zimbabwe spinner Wellington Masakadza said the tourists should take the home side lightly at their own risk, and added that they will exploit the home conditions to the maximum to win the five-match series.

A new-look India team suffered a 13-run loss to an inexperienced yet spirited Zimbabwe side in an upset of massive proportion.

India, who were recently crowned champions in the T20 World Cup albeit with a different set of players, were expected to blow away the Zimbabwean challenge when they restricted the home side to 115 for nine.

But Zimbabwe wrote their own script, reducing India to 28 for four in the powerplay and then eventually bowling them out for 102 in 19.5 overs. It was India's first loss in T20Is in 2024 and first against Zimbabwe in eight years.

Masakadza, who finished with figures of 1/15 in three overs, said, "We are trying to use our conditions as much as we can against this Indian side. It's a second-string Indian side, but there are a lot of good players in there. So, we are looking forward to this series," Masakadza said in an interview with PTI.

"We've had a few plans in place. We needed them to work and obviously," he added.

Masakadza, who dismissed tail-ender Avesh Khan on Saturday, said he was eyeing captain Shubman Gill's wicket now.

"I'll be looking to take Shubman Gill's big wicket and some of the right-handers, (Riyan) Parag and some of the other guys in the side. It will be a very good challenge. They're (Ravi Bishnoi and Washington Sundar) very good spinners. Bishnoi has just had a very good tournament in the IPL and also Sundar. So it's always a very good challenge to have Asian spinners," Masakadza said.

Zimbabwe players celebrate after winning against India in the first match of the T20I series.
Zimbabwe stuns India in nail-biting thriller, wins first T20 match of series

With Harare enjoying a winter season as it is in the Southern Hemisphere, the left-arm spinner said the home team pacers, due to their familiarity with the pitch, will likely trouble the Indian batters.

"It's winter here and at times it's a bit difficult for batters as the pitch is slowish, with a bit of turn. The seam is always a very big challenge in Harare during winter. So, I think the ball will move a bit and it will spin also," said the spinner.

He added that a series win will be a shot in the arm for Zimbabwe cricket, which has been on the decline for several years.

“If we manage to win the series, it will be a very big thing in our future. We're starting a new chapter. We've just had a new coaching staff. So I just think from now on, this is a big thing for us and we'll be looking forward to making a few plans to get ourselves across the line," said the 30-year-old, who, like his skipper Sikandar Raza, wants to play in the IPL.

Pakistan-born Raza played for Punjab Kings this IPL season, scoring 43 runs in two games. On Saturday, he was adjudged 'Player of the Match' for taking three wickets and scoring 17 runs.

"Definitely, it's always a good thing to go out there and play in those leagues. I will look to take some wickets in this series. That can be good for me to get a gig (IPl contract),” added Masakadza.

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