Afghanistan cricketers thrashed Zimbabwe by 146 runs in the final match of their ODI series.
Afghanistan Thrash Zimbabwe To Seal 4-1 Series-Win
Another batting collapse against Afghanistan's spinners saw Zimbabwe lose by 146 runs in the fifth and final ODI in Sharjah.
The ICC reported the victory gave Afghanistan a convincing 4-1 victory in the ODI series.
Late hitting by Rashid Khan – the scourge of Zimbabwe with the ball so far during the tour, the 19-year-old leg-spinner contributed 43 off 29 with the bat – had got Afghanistan up to 241/9 off their 50 overs after Zimbabwe had applied significant pressure in the middle overs.
Despite the early loss of Mohammad Shahzad after winning the toss, Afghanistan rallied with a superb 129-run partnership. Opener Javed Ahmadi – who was replacing Ihsanullah at the top of the order to make his first international appearance since the Ireland ODIs in December – will be kicking himself not to have made a hundred on his return, the ICC reported.
He hit an 87-ball 76 with six fours before, with the score on 148/2, he failed to ground his bat while taking a quick single and was consequently run out by a direct hit from Tendai Chisoro at mid-wicket.
Perhaps he was unsettled by the loss of his partner, No.3 Rahmat Shah, a quarter of an hour before.
Afghanistan’s form man again passed 50 to compile a calm 75-ball 59 but became Zimbabwe’s much-needed breakthrough when falling to the left-arm spin of Sikandar Raza.
With both set batsmen dismissed in quick succession Zimbabwe started to turn the game their way, dismissing each of Afghanistan’s Nos.4, 5, 6 and 7 for single figures. With their innings faltering, it was No.8 Sharafuddin Ashraf (21) and No.9 Rashid who got them up to what became a commanding total.
They added 54 in the last five overs, with Rashid dispatching Blessing Muzarabani for two big sixes in the final over to give Afghanistan 241/9.
Zimbabwe’s reply never got going. Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai might have appeared to be giving them a chance by delaying Rashid’s introduction with the ball until the 23rd over of the innings.
But by that stage Graeme Cremer’s side were already 79/6.
Having got to 17 without loss off their first three overs, a mix-up between Hamilton Masakadza and Tarisai Musakanda led to the former’s run-out for 7, and the loss of any momentum or confidence that might have been developing. Musakanda was watchful but eventually out, caught on the pull at short mid-wicket off big left-arm quick Shapoor Zadran, in the eighth over for just 11 in a strange 27-ball innings.
That brought together Craig Ervine and Brendan Taylor for what needed to be a match-defining partnership. It was Zimbabwe’s best – the experienced pair nudged their way to a 46-run stand – but it wasn’t enough, and when Taylor was out lbw for 27 after missing a straight one from left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf, all hope was, apparently, lost.
Ervine battled on grimly in challenging conditions as the spinners took over, eventually succumbing to 16-year-old starlet Mujeeb Zadran for a 75-ball 34, but the bottom seven batsmen contributed just nine runs – with four ducks and a 0 not out.
Fittingly it was Rashid – who snuck in with 3/13 from his 5.1 overs – who finished things off, clean bowling No.11 Muzarabani to seal another comprehensive win and a 4-1 series victory.