Afghanistan is getting better against Zimbabwe after each match. Had the series been more than 2 fixtures, it might have still ended as a whitewash for Zimbabwe. In the second and final match, Afghanistan nicked a 17-run victory defending their score against Zimbabwe in Sharjah. As in the previous tussle, Mohammad Nabi knocked his second consecutive 40-plus score. It was the prime thrust in building the challenging target of 159 for the opponents. Other crucial scorers in the inning were from Karim Sadiq, Asghar Stanikzai and Najibullah Zadran.
Batting first, Afghanistan played with a strong upper order batting. The inning set off with the headstrong partnership between Karim Sadiq and Asghar Stanikzai forging 56 runs together. However, Zimbabwe had an early success as opener Shahzad’s wicket in the fourth over. In the middle overs, the partnership for 51 runs between Nabi and Najibullah bolstered inning. The four batsmen excluding Nabi played running pass the 17th over. When Zadran was dismissed the score sored up to 139. In the pre-ultimate over, Nabi and Shafiqullah toppled down, removed by Tendai Chatara. The last six batsmen played for a combined total of 3 runs ending the inning with a rundown.
Zimbabwe’s campaign too, started with adequate momentum, but a mismatch in the latter overs slogged the initiative. The team lost Solomon Mire right after the second over, but the second wicket partnership between Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor hauled the score to 40 by the seventh over. The chase was strong until Zadran attacked in the mid overs but run-rate slogged gradually.
In the last 10 overs, the team required 100 runs to win. The impressive strike from Sikandar Raza beating 5 fours and a six rendered a push, but it was not enough. His wicket in the 17th over, ending the 53-run partnership was the turning point of the game. Ryan Burl scored 30 runs batting till the pre-ultimate over. In the final stretch, Peter Moor and Malcolm Waller partnered with some strength, but the target seemed unreachable. Afghanistan bowlers wrapped up the inning at 141 for 5, nicking the game away from Zimbabwe.
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