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Zimbabwe v Afghanistan 3rd ODI preview: Both teams eager to take lead

Asghar Stanikzai replaces Mohammad Nabi
Asghar Stanikzai the Afghanistan skipper will be looking to win the 3rd match and take lead in the series. (Photo Source:AFP)

Zimbabwe v Afghanistan 3rd ODI preview: Both teams eager to take lead: Afghanistan surged to a 58-run victory against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo, breathing new life in the ODI series. This well-deserved victory will inspire them in the upcoming matches.

The 2nd ODI was completely contrasting to the first match, a complete turnover. Zimbabwe did not look like the team which played smartly to defeat its opposition whereas Afghanistan learned from their mistakes and improved as a unit.

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Seems like Afghanistan have now understood their opposition very well and have planned things to perfection. On the other hand, Zimbabwe had a lethargic approach. In both the matches, the difference between the winning side and the losing side has been their batting performance. The team which has performed better with the bat has had the advantage. Therefore, both Zimbabwe and Afghanistan should concentrate on posting respectable totals on the scoreboard as their bowling line up is almost sorted.

Zimbabwe:

Being consistent has been a problem for Zimbabwe for many years. They must try and repeat their winning performances more often. Batting wise, Zimbabwe was not really tested in the 1st ODI. In the 2nd ODI, they looked very fragile and the Afghani bowler readily took advantage of it.

The openers need to be steadier and give positive starts so that the rest of the team can utilize upon it. The middle order can be trusted but they lack the fire-power. They need to be firm and build partnerships in case the openers fail to deliver. For instance, in the last match, Chigumbura’s innings of 25 off 82 during a chase was not justified at all.

Zimbabwe usually has preferred playing with 4 specialist bowlers and they have done their job very well. The seamers have taken early wickets while the spinners have contained the aggression of Afghani batsmen to a very good extent.

Afghanistan:

For Afghanistan, every aspect clicked in the right way in the last game. Their batting, which failed miserably in the last match, resurrected themselves very well in the 2nd ODI.

But, they shuffled their batting line completely in the 2nd ODI. It would have backfired if Mohammed Nabi had not performed. The batsmen have given a mixed performance in the series so far. But, it is too early to judge them after just a couple of matches. It would be better to go with this winning combination in the 3rd ODI.

The bowlers, on the other hand, bowled with lot more aggression in yesterday’s game and should maintain it. Afghanistan have an advantage as Zimbabwe has shown inconsistency in the batting order. They should try and dominate them. Especially in the middle and the final overs as Zimbabwe lack genuine big hitters. Zimbabweans had found it very difficult to score at the required run rate and could not deal with the reverse swinging yorkers of Atif Alam and Zadran. Teenage leg-spinner Rashid Khan will also be very useful. Inzamam-ul-Haq’s presence has surely put an positive effect on the Afghani players.

Overall, Afghanistan seems to have the edge over Zimbabwe ahead of the 3rd ODI as they have found the solution to their weaknesses. Zimbabwe have to regroup themselves and look forward to put a fighting effort to win the next match.

Probable XIs –

Zimbabwe:

CJ Chibhabha, R Mutumbami, CR Ervine, CT Mutombodzi, E Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza, TS Chisoro, LM Jongwe, WP Masakadza, T Panyangara, J Nyumbu.

Afghanistan:

Noor Ali Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Amir Hamza.

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