AFG vs ZIM, 1st T20I Review: Afghanistan continue their winning streak against Zimbabwe

AFG vs ZIM, 1st T20I Review: Afghanistan continue their winning streak against Zimbabwe

Whilst Rashid Khan registered amazing figures of 3/19, Nabi's all-round show won him the player of the match award.

Afghanistan cricket | CricTracker.com
Afghanistan players. (Photo Source: Twitter)

An emphatic all-round performance from the Afghanistan contingent helped them batter the Zimbabweans ruthlessly on Monday at the Sharjah. Their batsmen never looked competent enough against the world-class spinners Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. Whilst the latter registered amazing figures of 3/19, Nabi’s all-round show won him the player of the match award.

Solomon Mire’s exploits in the Powerplay provided Zimbabwe a  strong start. Their scoring rate was closely 9 an over and they looked in decent nick to score around 170-180. But their joy lasted only till the Powerplay and after the pacers provided the first few wickets, Rashid came into the attack and turned the game completely in their favor.

Experienced campaigners Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor got out cheaply and horrendously, making things a lot more difficult for their captain. Whilst Taylor ran himself out, Masakadza’s stumps went for cart-wheeling in Gubadin Naib’s bowling. Their middle order had a hard test ahead of them, which they eventually failed.

Whilst the spinners pounded ruthlessly on the batters, there simply was no answer. In-form batsman Sikandar Raza too was dismissed very early and they were tottering at 85/8. Anything above 100 seemed impossible, but Malcolm Waller came in and played a few splendid strokes towards the death overs.

Zimbabwe ended up scoring 120 runs in their 20 overs losing 9 wickets. After a scintillating start, it really was a huge let down for Graeme Cremer’s men to finish with such a below-par total. Malcolm Waller’s 16-ball 27 and Solomon Mire’s 21-ball 34 were the only good things about their lackluster innings. Sharafuddin Ashraf returned with a brace whilst Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi picked up one wicket each.

Shahzad and Nabi steer their side home

Mohammad Shahzad returned to the national side after a little gap and he was back with a bang. The little man who tends to burst like a dynamite on his day provided Afghanistan a stellar start. Although they lost a couple of wickets very early, Shahzad’s exploits kept their side a little ahead of the visiting side.

Once Mohammad Nabi joined the party, the game was all one-sided. One of the most destructive middle-order players on his day, Nabi can spank the bowlers to all parts and turn games on his own. He did exactly the same when Zimbabwe tried to make an audacious comeback into the game but failed brutally.

Though Shahzad was dismissed for an eleven-ball 20, Mohammad Nabi kept dealing in boundaries. The 33-year-old loves the on-side region and kept spanking boundaries over long-on, mid-wicket and fine-leg. With decent support coming from Sharafuddin Ashraf and Shafiqullah, he helped his side complete the run chase in 14.4 overs.

Mohammad Nabi remained unbeaten on 40 off 27 balls, which included four boundaries and three gigantic sixes. Cementing his position as a trust-worthy all-rounder, Nabi might as well take up that number 4 batting slot in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers. Blessing Muzarabani returned with figures of 2/36 and was the pick amongst the Zimbabwean bowlers.

Brief Scores

Zimbabwe: 120/9 in 20 overs (Solomon Mire 34, Malcolm Waller 27; Rashid Khan 3/19)

Afghanistan: 121/5 in 14.4 overs (Mohammad Nabi 40*, Mohammad Shahzad 20)

Player of the match: Mohammad Nabi