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Zimbabwe v Afghanistan 2nd ODI review: Afghanistan register a commanding victory

(Photo Source: Twitter0
Mohammed Nabi scored a beautiful hundred to set the stage for Afghanistan’s victory. (Photo Source: Twitter0

Zimbabwe v Afghanistan 2nd ODI review: Afghanistan register a commanding victory: Afghanistan after conceding the 1st ODI came back and dominated Zimbabwe to win the 2nd ODI by 58 runs and level the series 1-1.

Afghanistan Captain Stanikzai won the toss and chose to bat first under overcast conditions. Zimbabwe fielded the same winning side without making any changes. Afghanistan, whereas, made one change. Teenage leg-spinner Rashid Khan made his debut today replacing Shapoor Zadran in the playing XI.

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There was modest, but vocal crowd in the ground to cheer both the teams. For Afghanistan, it was a matter of restoring their confidence after their meek surrender in the 1st ODI.

Openers Noor Ali Zadran and Mohammed Shahzad came in with clear intentions. It was to not let the Zimbabwe bowlers settle down and dominate them. However, Zimbabwe bowlers, especially Panyangara, maintained discipline and kept the openers tied up, not allowing them to score freely.

Soon, Panyangara struck in the 5th over to send Shahzad back to the pavilion. Thus, providing the first breakthrough for Zimbabwe. But, Mohammed Nabi and Zadran held each end firmly, displayed their batting skills and stitched a 133 runs partnership between them. It was the most important partnership of the Afghanistan innings. It set a perfect platform for rest of the batsmen to come and play their natural game.

The fantastic partnership between Nabi and Zadran was brought to an end by Mutombodzi in the 32nd over when Zadran miss-timed a sweep shot and handed a catch to Chisoro. The momentum was slightly hurt after the fall of this wicket, but Nabi carried on to score his maiden ODI century.

Mohammed Nabi (116) soon got out. But, he had played his role perfectly. With the help of some useful contribution from skipper Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari in the final overs of the innings, Afghanistan set a target of 271 runs at the end of 50 overs.

Zimbabwe had a tough task in front of them as Afghanistan always had a very challenging bowling attack. Chibhabha, who had scored a half-century in the last match could not handle a short ball from Dawlat Zadran and lost his wicket in the 4th over itself. The star of the match, Mohammed Nabi struck the second blow to Zimbabwe in the 14th over. He sent Mutumbami back to the dressing room.

From there on, Afghanistan bowlers kept striking consistently. Craig Ervine and Mutombodzi tried to steady the chase but, both fell one after the other in the 25th and 26th over to Amir Hamza and Shenwari.

Shenwari clean bowled the new batsman Sikander Raza to claim the second wicket of this match. Zimbabwe were reduced to 123/5 and were in a bothersome situation. T Chisoro lost his wicket to Rashid Khan, the debutant leg-spinner after he miss timed his big shot very badly.

The scorecard read 142/6 for Zimbabwe now. The game was set for Afghanistan. The run rate was now soaring high and runs were not coming easily for them.

The other batsman at the crease, Chigumbura had switched to Test mode and found it very difficult to score runs. Luke Jongwe, however, showed some fight and hit boundaries from time to time to keep the scoring rate healthy.

Atif Alam finally put an end to Chigumbura (25 from 82 ball) and his snail-paced innings. At the end of 40 overs, Zimbabwe were struggling at 164/6 and required 108 runs from the last 10 overs which looked like an intimidating task.

Jongwe, who was hitting really well could deal with a fierce yorker fired by Dawlat Zadran. He returned to the dressing room after a fighting 46 from 57 deliveries.

The Zimbabwean tail-enders could not survive for very long. The match came to its conclusion in the 47th over as Atif Alam finished off the Masakadza with a well-targeted yorker and the last batsman Nyumbu ran himself out. Zimbabwe were all out for 213 and fell short of 58 runs in the chase.

This was the performance which was expected from Afghanistan in this series. Mohammad Nabi led the way with his blazing hundred, which included 6 towering sixes, and then his team followed that up with a relentless display of bowling in the field.

With the new ball, the fast bowlers bowled with pace and nagging line. Spinners also played a huge role. The 17-year old debutant leg spinner Rashid Khan was also very impressive. Zimbabwe failed to chase the stiff target and crumbled to a loss.

The series has come alive now. Afghanistan is now to their best and exciting matches are expected ahead in the series.

Brief scores:

Afghanistan – 271/6, 50 overs (M. Nabi 116; S. Shenwari 2/23)

Zimbabwe – 213, 46.4 overs (L. Jongwe 46; C Mutombodzi 2/40 )

Afghanistan won by 58 runs.

Man of the Match: Mohammed Nabi (Afghanistan)

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