Post Date: Post Date – 01:50 PM, Sunday – November 6th
Melbourne: India won the toss and opted to beat Zimbabwe in their final match against Zimbabwe in their final Group 2 match of the T20 World Cup Super 12 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, so Rishabh Pant in the 11th match Dinesh Karthik was replaced.
Pant, the left-handed goalie hitter, will make his debut in the ongoing game.
“Rishabh is the only one (from the batting team) who hasn’t played a game, including practice. We want to give him a game before the semi-finals,” Rohit said when putting him in place of Karthik.
India leads Zimbabwe 5-2 overall in the T20Is. But Sunday’s game will be the first time the two teams have met in a T20 World Cup match. Earlier in the day, the Netherlands beat South Africa in a stunning 13-round run, meaning India became the first team in Group 2 to advance to the semi-finals.
A victory for India will mean they finish top of the table in Group 2 and face England, who finished second in Group 1, in the semi-finals. But if they lose to India, they are likely to finish second in Group 2, behind Pakistan, and meet Group 1 leaders New Zealand in the semi-finals.
“It’s a team preference, nothing to do with the pitch. The pitch looks good. We want to give our bowlers a chance to defend the scoring. Nothing has changed, we need to do well as a team,” Rohit added.
Zimbabwe captain Craig Owen says the team has made two changes to their XI – Wellington Massakaza and Tony Monyonga replace Milton Shuba and Luke Rongway .
“Milton struggled a bit and we wanted to give Tony a chance. Luke Jongwe was injured and we wanted a spin from Wellington Masakadza. We felt we were underutilizing our speed resources in previous games so we decided to use an extra spinner ,” he explained.
Owen also said he was happy to play against India first. “We did some fieldwork with the lights yesterday and there seemed to be some dew. The balls might slide over at night with the lights. If that happens tonight, it could help us.”
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (goalkeeper), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh.
Zimbabwe: Wesley Madhevere, Craig Ervine (captain), Regis Chakabva (goalkeeper), Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Tony Munyonga, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Richard Ngarava, Wellington Masakadza and Blessing Muzarabani.