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AFG v ZIM, 5th ODI Preview: Zimbabwe aim to salvage some pride in the dead-rubber contest

With the WC Qualifiers coming up, both sides would love to finish the series on a high. 

Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe-ODI
Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe-ODI. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Not once did Zimbabwe managed to defeat Afghanistan in a bilateral series and this time around, they had to suffer a similar fate. A brilliant all-round show from the hosting nation saw Zimbabwe stutter almost every game barring the second one, where the Afghans had a rare bad game. This triumph will be quite a morale booster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

This win for the Afghans was scripted by two amazing spin talents in Mujeeb Zadran and Rashid Khan. The spinning duo managed to rip their lineup apart pretty much every game. That one game where they scored 333, they targeted the fast bowlers and gave utmost respect to the spinners, something they failed to repeat in the series.

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Asghar Stanikzai will be very proud of how his team managed to crucify their opposition. Whilst Mohammad Nabi played an important role in the T20Is, Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah are proving to be the match-winners in the ODIs. With the WC Qualifiers coming up, both sides would love to finish the series on a high.

 

Playing Combinations

Afghanistan

No one would want to change a winning combination and the case would be similar to the Afghans. Mohammad Shahzad and Ihsanullah Janat will open the batting with Rahmat Shah coming up at number 3. Nasir Jamal, Asghar Stanikzai, Mohammad Nabi, and Najibullah Zadran will be comprising the middle order.

Mujeeb Zadran and Rashid Khan will be the key amongst the bowlers, as they’ve been throughout the series. Mohammad Nabi also has been outstanding with his off-spin. Ashraf and Dawlat Zadran will be the two fast bowlers for the game, given Stanikzai doesn’t consider measuring his bench strength.

Probable XI: Mohammad Shahzad (WK), Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Nasir Jamal, Mohammad Nabi, Asghar Stanikzai (C), Najibullah Zadran, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Zadran

Zimbabwe

Solomon Mire and Hamilton Masakadza will be opening the innings for the visitors, with Tarisai Musakanda coming in at number 3. Experienced campaigner Brendan Taylor will continue at number 4, with Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, and Graeme Cremer to follow in the middle order.

Unlike the Afghans, Zimbabwe will be entering the battlefield with three seamers. Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara and Kyle Jarvis will be the three fast bowlers with Cremer being the only specialist spinner. Sikandar Raza and Craig Ervine will be the skipper’s other bowling options.

Probable XI: Solomon Mire, Hamilton Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Brendan Taylor (WK), Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Graeme Cremer (C), Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani

Focus will be on

Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan) 

After failing to make his mark in the first few games, the little dynamite blasted big time in the previous game. Mohammad Shahzad fired a breathtaking half-century after his bowlers managed to restrict the opposition for a moderate score. It must’ve been a big boost for his confidence and he’d be eager to carry forward the momentum.

Graeme Cremer ( Zimbabwe)

Going by how the spinners have bowled in this series, Cremer should’ve been a little more consistent with his lengths to have reaped better results. He anyways had a decent series, but his performance hardly managed to sabotage Afghanistan’s winning run. Hard time is on their way with the Qualifiers coming up and Zimbabwe needs him to be at his best.

StatAttack

43 – Craig Ervine needs 43 runs to complete 2,000 runs in ODIs.

Head to Head

Total Matches Played – 23, Afghanistan won – 14, Zimbabwe won – 9, Tied/NR – 0

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