Zimbabwe 170 for 6 (Chigumbura 54*, Waller 30, Bumrah 2-24) beat India 168 for 6 (Pandey 48, Chibhabha 2-13) by two runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The shorter the contest, the tighter the contest. Zimbabwe, outclassed in all three ODIs, pulled off their second successive 20-over win over India, shading a match of exceedingly tiny margins by two runs to go 1-0 up in the T20I series. It came down to MS Dhoni and what he could do with the last ball, as it has so many times in his career. India needed four, and Neville Madziva bowled a wide slower ball. Dhoni, jumping across to reach it, slapped it wide of deep point, but could not generate enough power to beat the fielder. He simply moved a few yards to his right and kept India's captain to a single.
In only his seventh T20I, Madziva had made a decisive last-over intervention. In Mirpur last November, he had hit 6, 2, 4, 6 off Nasir Hossain when Zimbabwe had needed 18 off five balls to beat Bangladesh.
Now, he was defending eight off the last over. India had needed 14 off seven balls when Donald Tiripano missed his yorker by a few inches. Axar Patel cleared the fielder at long-off.
Second ball of the final over, Madziva bowled a similar delivery, overpitched, and Axar played a similar shot. This time he picked out the fielder. That brought it down to seven off four. Madziva bowled a pinpoint wide yorker, and Dhoni could not beat the fielder at extra cover. At other times, he may have declined the single. He took it, and left Rishi Dhawan, one of five T20I debutants in India's XI, on strike for the first time with six to get off three balls.
Dhawan couldn't make any connection with Madziva's wide yorker, or with the wide slower ball that followed. The equation should have said six off one at this point, but Russell Tiffin signalled wide - even though it was well within reach of Dhawan, who had moved a long way across - and it said five off two instead. Dhawan scrambled a single and brought Dhoni back on strike, but there was little he could do with Madziva's calmly executed slower ball. Dhoni finished on 19 off 17 balls. His approach could be seen as questionable, but his approach had brought his team's task down to 8 off the last over, and most would have backed India to win in that situation.
That Zimbabwe set India a target so tantalisingly out of reach was down to one man, Elton Chigumbura, who struck seven sixes in an unbeaten 26-ball 54, and was the prime reason for Zimbabwe scoring 59 off their last five overs.
When Chigumbura came to the crease, they were 98 for 4 in 13.1 overs. They had just lost two wickets in the space of four balls, and those wickets were of Malcolm Waller and Sikandar Raza, who had added 47 for the third wicket in 34 balls. It was a situation reminiscent of the second and third ODIs, when Zimbabwe had reached positions of reasonable promise - 106 for 3 and 104 for 3 - only to collapse spectacularly. Chigumbura had made golden ducks in both those matches.
But this was a new day, and a different format, which would give him the freedom to play his shots straightaway. He had only faced five balls when a no-ball from Yuzvendra Chahal gave him the maximum possible freedom. Chahal sent down a quicker ball at 115kph, but it had width on it, and Chigumbura, all still head and stable base, freed his arms to flat-bat it over the long-off boundary.
Chigumbura hit two more sixes off Chahal in his next over, the 17th, and, as if to show his method could be applied just as well against the quicker bowlers, two off Jaydev Unadkat in the 19th. The first of these hit the roof of the stadium and bounced over it.
Jasprit Bumrah had been the best of India's bowlers, conceding only 10 off his first three overs, but Chigumbura wouldn't spare him either, when he came back to bowl the final over. Taking a big step back to use the depth of his crease, he managed just enough elevation off a low full-toss to clear long-off, and then kept a close eye on a slower ball to mow it high over midwicket to bring up his half-century.
India's new-look batting line-up was facing its first proper test of the tour. The chase began badly. KL Rahul, a bundle of nerves in a low-scoring Test debut, had made an unbeaten hundred on his ODI debut. He only lasted one ball on T20I debut, chopping Tiripano on. India lost their second wicket at the end of the Powerplay - but not before Mandeep Singh, another debutant, and Ambati Rayudu had struck eight fours in a partnership of 44.
The boundaries were harder to come by without field restrictions, and the required rate had gone beyond 10 an over when India lost their fourth wicket, Kedar Jadhav playing on while trying to slog Taurai Muzarabani, in the 13th over. That was when Dhoni walked in.
Dhoni and Manish Pandey kept India on course with hard running - they ran six twos and another off a wide - punctuated by boundary hits, including successive Pandey sixes off Graeme Cremer's legspin, to add 53 in 30 balls. Pandey's dismissal - slicing a full, wide ball from Muzarabani wider than intended - in the 18th over left India needing 28 from 16, and Axar's hitting brought it down to eight off the last over. They had all but won it, but they ran into a last-over specialist.