18th June, 2016 - Zimbabwe vs India at the Harare Sports Club, the first of 3 T20 Internationals. This was expected to be a one sided affair, the Indians expected to romp home after absolutely annihilating the Zimbabweans in the recently concluded ODI series. There was another story to be written however, as Zimbabwe emerged victorious after a heroic showing.
Here, we recount 5 of their most famous T20I wins when they upset the giants of the International game:
1) Zimbabwe v India, Harare, 18th June 2016
In a remarkable game of T20 cricket, Zimbabwe recorded a 2 run win over India. Incredible scenes ensued as Neville Madziva uprooted a stump, ran to his fans and let emotion take over.
After a forgettable ODI series, this was an inspired performance from the Zimbabwean team.
Having won the toss, Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to bowl. Hamilton Masakadza got his team off to a blistering start, smashing 25 off 15, Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller stitched together a good 47 run partnership in the middle. However, It was Elton Chigumbura who made the difference with a special 26 ball 54 towards the fag end of the innings lifting his team to 170.
Defending the total, Zimbabwe got off to a dream start, dismissing KL Rahul on the very first ball of the innings. His opening partner, Mandeep Singh produced a few great looking shots as he got to 31. Manish Pandey accelerated at the right stage, he lost his wicket cheaply though, falling 2 runs short of his first International Twenty 20 fifty. Axar Patel came in and smashed the ball all over the park, with a cameo of 18 runs.
The job was nearly done as India needed a mere 8 runs off the last over to record a win. Neville Madziva was trusted with the ball in the final over, and he produced a special over, conceding a mere 5 runs to clinch the match for his team.
2) Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, Dhaka, 15th Nov 2015
Neville Madziva was the hero here again, this time with the bat. Zimbabwe needed a win, having lost the first T20 international and needing to level the series.
Bangladesh struggled to 135 - 9 batting first, with Anamul Haque the only batsman to walk off with any distinction whatsoever, recording a 51 ball 47. Bangaldesh’s last six batsman managed to recorded only single digit scores. It was a good bowling performance from Zimbabwe with Tinashe Panyangara picking up 3 wickets.
Plenty of drama was in store as Zimbabwe made an absolute mess of the chase. Malcolm Waller played a crucial knock in the middle of the order, scoring 40 with 3 sixes to keep his side in the game.
Needing 18 off the last over, disaster struck as Waller was dismissed off the first ball. The action shifted to Madziva then, he only needed 4 balls striking 6, 2, 4 and 6 again to win the game for his team with one ball to spare.
3) Zimbabwe vs India, Harare, 19th July 2015
Harare played host as Zimbabwe recorded their maiden win in T20 Internationals against India, 11 months prior to their more recent win.
Batting first, Zimbabwe got off to a good start courtesy Chamu Chibhabha, who recorded a 51 ball 67. No one else shined, however, as Zimbabwe ended up with a below par score of 145.
Chasing the total, India got off to an ideal start with stylish opener Robin Uthappa striking the ball to all parts of the ground. India were cruising at 56 - 1 before losing 3 wickets quickly.
The leggie Graeme Cremer was the star with the ball for Zimbabwe, bowling an incredible spell of 4 overs - 18 runs - 3 wickets. With two overs left, India were still very much in the game, requiring 25 to win off 12. The penultimate over, bowled by Taurai Muzarabani went only for six runs. That proved to be sufficient as Zimbabwe eventually won comfortably, by 10 runs.
4) West Indies vs Zimbabwe, Port of Spain 28th Feb 2010
Zimbabwe recorded a famous win in the Caribbean 6 years ago, clinching the only T20I to be played between the two sides during the series.
The Port of Spain pitch was a spinners’ delight and this turned out to be a low scoring affair. Batting first, Hamilton Masakadza was solid, scoring 44 as none of his batting partners seemed to be able to stay at the crease for a sustained period. It seemed like they might not reach 3 digits before a quick fire 34 from Elton Chigumbura got them to 105.
This total should have been chased down easily by the West Indies batsmen, who ended up making an absolute mess of the chase. Chanderpaul offered resistance early, but no one else did until Dinesh Ramdin chipped in in the middle order. The Zimbabwean spinners were all over the batsmen as they struggled to 79 - 7 in their 20 overs.
Zimbabwe ended up defending 105, winning by a mighty 26 runs.
5) Zimbabwe vs Australia, Cape Town, 12th Sept 2007
The inaugural T20 world cup had a number of stories, but Zimbabwe’s historic win over the mighty Aussies shall always rank high up there.
While all their other wins in the list came batting first, this time they chased down Australia’s total. Elton Chigumbura was all over the Australian batsmen, like a rash, destroying the top order. Australia did stabilise in the middle, courtesy knocks from Andrew Symonds and Brad Hodge and recorded 138.
138, in a world cup, with a strong bowling line up, gave Australia a chance. Brendon Taylor was the hero for Zimbabwe, opening the batting, he played an unbelievable knock, ending unbeaten with 60 off 45 balls. He timed his innings to perfection as well, initially, knocking the ball about, before going for big shots in the end.
Zimbabwe needed 12 runs to win off 6 balls, Taylor took the pressure off with a boundary the first ball and after Nathan Bracken strayed in line, the ball ricocheted off Taylor’s pads and raced away to the fence to give Zimbabwe the win with one ball to spare.