AFG vs ZIM, 3rd ODI Review: Rashid Khan's 5-fer earns Afghanistan a 2-1 lead in the series

AFG vs ZIM, 3rd ODI Review: Rashid Khan’s 5-fer earns Afghanistan a 2-1 lead in the series

Rashid's exceptional figures of 5/24 meant the Zimbabweans lost their last 7 wickets for 37 runs. 

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Source: Twitter)

The same old Sharjah track where Afghanistan and Zimbabwe had scored 333 in the first and second ODI respectively, behaved peculiarly. Banking on its uncanny behaviour, the Afghan spinners made an absolute mockery of the visitors’ lineup and registered a very important 6-wicket win to go 2-1 up in the five-match series.

Going by the old pattern, Zimbabwean skipper Graeme Cremer won the toss and opted to bat first. The obvious idea was to post a humongous total on the board, just the way they did it last time. But the Sharjah track showed a different side of its nature and the spinners were just licking their fingers to get the ball in hand.

Mujeeb Zadran was on fire with the new ball, so was the speedster Dawlat Zadran. Inside the first powerplay, the top three batters returned back to the pavilion and it was a blow to their backbone. Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza then steadied the ship with a decent partnership. It looked as though they will end with a total around 260-280.

And then Rashid Khan entered the picture who was unreasonably held back by his skipper for a long time. But when he got the ball, Rashid turned the game completely in Afghanistan’s favour. After adding 73 runs for the fourth wicket with Ervine, Raza was dismissed by the leg-spinner. Ryal Burl fell off the very next ball, which embarked an unpleasant downfall.

He then picked up the wickets of the dangerous Malcolm Waller and the settled batter Ervine in quick succession. By cleaning up Tendai Chatara’s stumps, he completed yet another 5-wicket haul in his exceptional ODI career. Mujeeb Zadran returned with impressive figures as well, registered 3/45 in 10 overs.

Zimbabwe were bowled out for 154 runs with over 15 overs still remaining in the innings. Rashid’s exceptional figures of 5/24 will keep haunting their batters for a long time and this incredible spell meant the visitors lost their last 7 wickets for 37 runs.

Rahmat Shah gets yet another fifty; A “Walk in the park” run chase for the Afghans

Despite having a below-par total on board, the Zimbabwean bowlers started off well. They made the openers work hard to get hold off the new ball and eventually reaped the benefits. Tendai Chatara was the beneficiary as both openers Ihsanullah Janat and Mohammad Shahzad fell in the powerplay. Shahzad needs five more runs to complete 2,000 runs in ODIs.

After this, they barely had any trouble on the path to victory. Rahmat Shah, who struck a scintillating century in the first game, came out good in the second ODI as well in a reasonably poor outing for the Afghans. Once again, he was brilliant for his side as the visitors’ bowler had a tough time dealing with him.

Accompanying him at the other end was Nasir Jamal, who played some beautiful shots and got a quickfire half-century. Both these players added 69 runs for the third wicket, which immaterialized Zimbabwe’s decent little start with the new ball. Rahmat fell exactly after he completed a half century and Mohammad Nabi entered to take his side over the finish line.

Jamal too completed a half-century and fell when his side needing just 5 runs. With a couple of boundaries, Najibullah Zadran finished the game in style with more than 22 overs remaining. They now hold a 2-1 advantage in the series and they’re a whisker away from winning yet another series against Zimbabwe.

Brief Scores

Zimbabwe: 154 all out in 34.3 overs (Craig Ervine 39; Rashid Khan 5/24, Mujeeb Zadran 3/45)

Afghanistan: 158/4 in 27.3 overs (Rahmat Shah 56, Nasir Jamal 50)

Player of the match: Rashid Khan