A measured half century from opener Chamu Chibhabha propelled Zimbabwe to their first ever Twenty20 victory over former World champions India by 10 runs, in Harare, on Sunday.
Electing to bat, Zimbabwe posted 145 for seven in their 20 overs, Chibhabha’s 67 from 51 balls being the major contributor.
India got off to a quick start in reply but lost momentum after losing three wickets in nine balls and finished with 135 for nine from their allotted overs.
The result allowed the hosts to tie the series 1-1.
Chibhabha struck nine fours on his way to his highest Twenty20 international score, even as no other Zimbabwe batsman got to 20.
Robin Uthappa looked set to lead India to a series victory when he raced to 42 from 25 balls, but the tourists slumped to 61 for four when he was caught and bowled by Sean Williams.
Leg-break bowler Graeme Creamer was the pick of the home bowlers, claiming three wickets for 18 runs in his four overs.
India's quest to maintain a clean slate on their short cricket tour of Zimbabwe went up in smoke.
They suffered an early blow, losing skipper Ajinkya Rahane to the third ball. He was run-out after a mix-up with his partner, Murali Vijay.
Vijay (13) and Robin Uthappa (40) then added 53 runs off 34 balls before the former was sent packing by leg-spinner Cremer, who beat him for pace and toppled his off-stump in the seventh over.
Three balls later, Cremer struck again when he trapped new-man Manish Pandey in front of the wicket with a googly that pitched on middle and leg and skidded on to beat the batsmen, leaving India at 57-3.
In the next over, Sean Williams bowled and caught Uthappa, who was looking good till then. The batsman popped a return catch as Williams stretched his hands over his head to latch onto it.
Jadhav too was run-out when Muzarabani produced a direct hit as India lost half their side in nine overs.
Binny and Samson raised hopes with a 36-run partnership, but the former was sent back to the hut after a stunning catch by Chibhabha as Cremer picked up his third wicket.
In the 18th over, Samson holed out at long-on, Malcolm Waller taking the catch off Chris Mpofu, as India slipped to 117-7.
Axar Patel (13) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (9), too, perished in the process as India ended their campaign with a defeat.
Earlier, the Indians took wickets at regular intervals to deny momentum to the home side, but opener Chibhabha ensured that Zimbabwe put up a respectable total with a superb 51-ball 67 on a slow pitch.
For India, pacers Mohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar grabbed two wickets each while Sandeep Sharma, Stuart Binny and Axar Patel took one apiece.
Sandeep captured his maiden international wicket after being handed his first India cap in the first T20 two days back.
Zimbabwe lost opener Hamilton Masakadza (19) in the fourth over off the bowling of Sandeep, who induced a faint edge off the bat for Uthappa to do the rest behind the stumps.
The home side were soon 48 for two as Sikandar Raza (8), who captained Zimbabwe in the absence of Elton Chingumbura, could stay at the crease for just two overs before becoming Sharma's second victim.
Zimbabwe were 48-2 in the sixth over.
With India gaining the upper hand, captain Rahane handed the ball to part-timer Vijay to bowl his off-breaks. Bowling for the first time in T20Is, Vijay did a decent job, conceding nine runs in his two overs, as Zimbabwe scored 76 for 2 at the halfway mark.
They tried to push the scoring rate, but, in doing so, lost the wickets of Sean Williams (17) and Charles Coventry (4) in the 12th and 16th overs without much contribution.
It was left to Chibhabha to take Zimbabwe to a respectable total and he did it to quite an extent before he was out in the penultimate over.
Ultimately, Zimbabwe failed to make the final flourish as they lost three wickets in the last two overs.
They added just 33 runs in the last five overs, losing four wickets.