Afghanistan proved its T20 might winning the first T20 International against Zimbabwe. The team are campaigning in the two-match series at Sharjah. In the latest tussle, Afghanistan won by 5 wickets sparing 32 balls to move ahead in the series by 1-0. The drubbing of Zimbabwe was primarily the impact of an impressive strike off Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s middle order player. Remaining unbeaten with a 20-ball 40, he partnered with the rest of the players nicking the win before Zimbabwe could even bowl fifteen overs.
Sent in to bat first, Zimbabwe scored 120 runs for 9 wickets. The team started their inning with a strong opening partnership between Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire. Although, the openers played through the power play to score 52 runs, the stretch ended in 6 overs. Mire was caught by Mohammad Nabi at the delivery off Aftab Alam. The batsman knocked 34 off 21 balls hammering five fours and 2 sixes in the short start.
Afghanistan attacked the batting line up ripping the order, starting with the next wicket of Masakadza. Gulbadin Naib bowled out the player before the ninth over starting the slog. The order kept on losing wickets in every over falling from 65 for 1 to 81 for 7 in the 15th. In the final 86 balls, the batsmen scored 68 runs to finish the inning at 120 for 9. Malcom Waller remained unbeaten with the score of 27 lower in the line-up, also becoming the second highest scorer after Mire.
Afghan bowler Aftab Alam had four wickets, while Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Sharafuddin Ashraf finished with 3 and 2 wickets respectively. The team’s batsmen started the chase losing early wickets, but the middle order strengthened with Nabi, ensured the victory. The first two wickets of Karim Sadiq and Mohammad Shahzad fell before the 4th over. Still, the latter’s strike of two sixes and a four for a 11-ball 20 imparted the required boost to the start.
By the middle overs, the chase began to build up, even if wickets kept on falling once in a while. Captain Stanikzai was trapped by Chatara and Sharafuddin Ashraf was taken away by Burl. He was followed by Najibullah Zadran in the 12th over with the score hanging on 85 for 5. The average target could not put up a pressure on Afghanistan with Nabi and Shafiqullah forging the winning partnership of 36 runs.
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