Gill leads India to 23-run win over Zimbabwe in third T20 to take 2-1 lead in series

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — India captain Shubman Gill regained his form with a half-century as the tourists beat Zimbabwe by 23 runs Wednesday in the third Twenty20.

Gill scored 66 runs off 49 balls, including seven fours and three sixes, as India notched up 182-4 in 20 overs. Ruturaj Gaikwad also scored 49 off 28 balls.

In reply, Zimbabwe finished with 159-6 as off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar took 3-15 in four overs. Dion Myers top scored for the hosts with 65 not out off 49 balls, including seven fours and a six.

The win gives India a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. It won the second T20 by 100 runs, after losing the first by 13 runs.

India was bolstered by the inclusion of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube, who were part of its T20 World Cup winning campaign.

Opting to bat, Gill and Jaiswal opened the innings with Abhishek Sharma, who scored a maiden century in the previous game, shifting down to No. 3.

Gill and Jaiswal put on 67 off 50 balls for the first wicket. Jaiswal, who didn’t feature in the World Cup, returned to India’s playing XI with 36 off 27 balls. He hit four fours and two sixes.

Zimbabwe skipper Sikandar Raza struck twice in quick succession as India first lost Jaiswal and then Sharma for 10.

Gaikwad, batting at four, then put on 72 off 44 balls with Gill for the third wicket. Gill notched up his highest score of the series, scoring 50 off 36 balls as he anchored the Indian innings.

He was out in the 18th over, trying to gain a march as India crossed 150. Gaikwad and Sanju Samson (12 not out) then scored 24 off 11 balls to help propel the score past 180.

Chasing 183, Zimbabwe was rocked at the start as pacers Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan shared three wickets.

Khan struck twice in two overs as the hosts were down to 19-3 in 3.1 overs. Khan finished with 2-39 from four overs.

Sundar then broke through twice in the middle order, dismissing Raza (15) and Jonathan Campbell (1) as Zimbabwe was reduced to 39-5 in seven overs.

It made a decent recovery thanks to a 77-run partnership off 57 balls between Myers and Clive Madande, who scored 37 off 26 balls.

Sundar again provided the breakthrough as the match slipped from Zimbabwe’s hands. Myers and Wellington Masakadza (18 not out) put on 43 off 21 balls to reduce the margin of defeat.

“It feels amazing to play again for the country," Sundar said. “It was definitely a better batting wicket than the previous two games, so we executed our plans well to restrict them. Hopefully we can seal the series on Saturday.”

The final two T20s will be played on Saturday and Sunday.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket