Zimbabwe v India
Thursday 18 August, 08.15
TV: Live on ICCTV
Raza the key
Zimbabwe come into this series in decent nick. They saw off Bangladesh 2-1 in T"0 and ODI series respectively. They also took a game off Sri Lanka this year and in 2020 managed a tie against Pakistan.
It is slim pickings but there are worse 'associate' records out there. This is a significant test, of course, and T20 wins in 2015 and 2016 over India are of no use now.
In the recent contest against Bangladesh, Sikandar Raza scored two tons in the ODIs to stand out. Skip and keeper Regis Chakabva and opener Innocent Kaia also notched centuries.
Raza was also their go-to man with the ball. There are legitimate concerns that they will leak runs in the field. In a study encompassing the last three years, they have conceded at least 280 half the time.
Probable XI: Kaitano, Marumani, Kaia, Madande, Raza, Chakabva, Munyonga, Jongwe, Evans, Ngarava, Nyauchi
India are experimenting again and who can blame them with ODI cricket very much on the back burner in a T20 World Cup year.
First of all some of the absentees. There is no Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Surykumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ravi Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami or Yuz Chahal.
KL Rahul returns to skipper the side and he is may open with Shikhar Dhawan. If not, he bats at No 5 with Shubmann Gill in the top slot. Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi and Sanju Samson are competiting for middle-order spots. Axar Patel balances the XI with Washington Sundar an injury doubt.
Kuldeep Yadav is the main spinner. Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Deepak Chahar, Moahhamad Siraj and Shardul Thakur should make up the pace attack.
Possible XI: Rahul, Dhawan, Ishan, Samson, Hooda, Axar, Thakur, Deepak C, Kuldeep, Avesh, Siraj
The Harare surface was flat and full of runs for Zimbabwe-Bangladesh. India will target a minimum of 320 if they bat first which should be well within their grasp considering that Zim bowling data. India can claim to be the most explosive batting team in the world following England's white-ball slow mo this summer. We may have to pay low 330s on the par line but it's a fair wager. Bet the market here.
How to play
Zimbabwe are 14.0013/1 with India 1.071/14. But we're eyeing up a trade based on Raza's stunning form. If Zimbabwe can bat first, they have the potential to bring those odds down with a strong partnership. Plan a back-to-lay at 7.006/1. That may also require an early wicket in the chase. Bet the market here
Raza and Chakabva are solid picks for top Zimbabwe bat at around 7/2 and 5/1 when Sportsbook go live with prices. For India, we're keen on KL Rahul going big after a long spell out after injury. But top India bat and top match bat are heavily related so take the chunkier odds on the latter. It may pay to keep Shikhar Dhawan on side, too.
Kuldeep Yadav needs a big performance and could get it. Zimbabwe were a little unsure against spin versus Bangladesh and Kuldeep is the main man for India. Have a go from 10/3 top bowler. Bet the markets here