India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and decided to bat first in the final Super 12 match against Zimbabwe. The Men in Blue have already qualified for the semifinals, following South Africa’s loss against the Netherlands earlier in the day. They are joined by Pakistan from Group 2 as the two teams progressing to the next round.

The Indian team has one change in their lineup from the previous game. Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, who looked to be struggling against Bangladesh in their previous match, has been dropped to make way for Rishabh Pant, who is also the only left-handed batter in the team. This is also the first appearance of Pant in the ongoing  T20 World Cup 2022.

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“Rishabh is the only guy who hasn’t played a single game, including the practice games. We wanted to give him a game before the semi-finals,” Rohit Sharma said after the toss.

Sharma also explained the reason for opting to bat first against Zimbabwe, saying it was because of the Indian bowlers.  

“It’s the preference of the team, nothing to do with the pitch. Pitch looks good. We wanted to give our bowlers a chance to defend a score,” the Indian skipper said.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine revealed that his team was delighted to bowl first. “We had some fielding sessions yesterday under lights, and it seemed like there was some dew. If that happens tonight, it could help us,” he said.

This is also the second time since August that India is facing Zimbabwe. The Men in Blue faced the African side in three ODI matches in August ahead of the Asia Cup 2022 in Harare. 

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India XI: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.

Zimbabwe XI: Wessly Madhevere, Craig Ervine (captain), Regis Chakabva (wk), Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Tony Munyonga, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Richard Ngarava, Wellington Masakadza, Blessing Muzarabani.