Robin Uthappa has not had the easiest tour of Zimbabwe, but his returns with the bat have been steadily increasing since his duck in the first ODI, and his 39 not out in the first T20I helped to boost India to an unassailable 178 for 5.
"I missed out in that first game, a judgement call, and the second one was towards the end, so it could have gone either way as well," Uthappa said. "The third game I should have consolidated, but made one error. A lot of hard work, and eventually one error cost me. But I'm feeling good since I've come here. I was glad I was able to bat through for the team today and set up that good total. It was quite a challenging wicket to bat on, so I'm pretty happy with the way I performed today."
India were helped by 25 extras from a loose Zimbabwean attack, but it was evident that the pitch did not immediately lend itself to strokeplay. India were also pegged back by seamer Chris Mpofu's wickets at the death, but Uthappa's innings ensured that the good work in the opening overs was not entirely undone.
"I thought it was a very good score, given the wicket. The wicket was again very slow. Not like the T20 wickets that you play on all around the world. Generally when you play T20 cricket you get good flat, even tracks that help the bowlers and the batsmen, and basically are even: if the bowlers bowl well then you get wickets, and if the batters bat well they get runs. This was quite different. It was slow and low, hard to score runs and hard to score boundaries.
"You had to depend on the twos and make sure you back yourself. And you also know that it's not easy for the new batsman to come in and play shots, you've got to give yourself time. So it was important for me to hold one end up for the side. I realized that once Manish got out, we needed one batsman to bat through. I was very happy to do that for the team."
Uthappa has had to adapt to a somewhat different role in this side to that which he is used to, batting in the middle order rather than opening, but the general trend of his results in this series suggests that the work he has been doing with batting consultant Pravin Amre may be paying off.
"Yeah, I think he's done a lot for me," Uthappa said of Amre. "I'm happy with the way I'm playing right now, and my game is kind of set. I think I'm not batting in my regular position. I'm an opening batsman but I've been batting in the middle order, so it's quite different for me, and I've been trying to adjust myself.
"Through the year in domestic cricket, in the IPL, or otherwise I'm always opening the batting and so suddenly when you have to play in the middle order you have to be more flexible. Make slight adjustments, because your preparation is different.
"For me, just to wait to bat is very different because I like to get in there and set the foundation for the side. But here you're going into a situation that's already set for you. It's quite different in the middle order. But I'm getting the hang of it. I'm learning as I go. The more I play the better I'll get at it."
India fielded five T20 international debutants in the match, but Uthappa suggested that the squad's extensive experience in the format outside of the international arena meant that the new faces were quite at home, and that nerves were "absolutely not" an issue.
"We play so much of T20 cricket, all of us must have played 100 games each in the IPL, and there the pressure is a lot more. There's more of a crowd, you want to perform, you're playing the best players in the world. You're already basically cooked when you're coming in here, so you're ready for it."
Uthappa also rejected the idea that India had sent a 'second string' side to Zimbabwe, insisting that every member of the squad deserved to play for the country. "I think we have a pool of 25 players, and all of us deserve to play for the country, it's just that you cannot carry more than 15 in a side," he said. "So unfortunately the rest of us kind of miss out. I wouldn't say we're less talented, or we can't do as well in international cricket, I just think that the guys who are in there have done well for themselves when they got the opportunity.
"It's hard to leave those players out and play us. We need to take our chances when they come our way. I would never call us a second string side, because the kind of talent that we have in our pool, I think that we're pretty good for the next 10 to 15 years."
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town