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    SportsCricketGill and Gaikwad impress as India take series lead against Zimbabwe

    Gill and Gaikwad impress as India take series lead against Zimbabwe


    With the looming in Australia later this year, 's ongoing tour of Zimbabwe has provided an ideal platform for the young batsmen to stake their claim for spots in the top order. In the third T20I played in Harare on Wednesday, Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad capitalized on the opportunity to impress with solid performances.

    Opening the batting with Yashasvi Jaiswal, Gill looked composed as he guided India to a steady start. His innings of 66 runs helped lay the foundation for a competitive total. At the other end, Gaikwad showed his versatility by shifting gears quickly in the middle overs. Coming in at number 4, the in-form batsman smashed 49 runs off just 28 balls to accelerate the scoring rate.

    With Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma now focusing on ODIs, places have opened up in the T20I side. Gill and Gaikwad seem to be emerging as strong candidates for the two opening slots. While Gill displayed patience and control, Gaikwad demonstrated his big-hitting prowess. Both batsmen made their case to be on the plane to Australia for the Cup.

    Abhishek Sharma, who struck a quickfire century in the previous match, was pushed further down the order to accommodate Jaiswal's inclusion. He struggled to get going from ball one at number 3. This outing highlighted Jaiswal's importance to India's T20I plans, with his ability to bat deep and time the ball well.

    Chasing 183 for victory, Zimbabwe found runs hard to come by thanks to some early strikes by Avesh Khan and Khaleel Ahmed. Washington Sundar then took center stage with a fine spell of 3 for 15. The off-spinner slowed his pace on the big Harare outfield to deceive the batsmen. His all-round skills make him a valuable asset for India.

    Despite a late surge by Dion Myers, Zimbabwe fell short by 23 runs. India take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the five-match series. The tour has served as an useful selection trial for key batting slots. With the World Cup a few months away, Gill and Gaikwad appear poised for more opportunities to cement their place.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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