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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

1st ODI: Afghanistan thrash Zimbabwe by 60 runs, take 1-0 lead

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Harare, June 4 (Ajit Weekly News) Riding on contributions from their four senior players, Afghanistan thrashed Zimbabwe by 60 runs in the first ODI to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, here on Saturday.

With this win, Afghanistan moved up to the third spot above India in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League standings.

After winning the toss, Zimbabwe opted to bowl first and handed debut caps to Tanaka Chivanga and Innocent Kaia. The decision to bowl first paid immediate dividends with the quick wickets of the Afghanistan openers, before Hasmatullah and Rahmat came to the rescue of the visitors.

Skipper Hasmatullah Shahidi (88) and Rahmat Saha (96) stitched up a 181-run partnership for the third wicket. They rotated the strike continuously and once set, they soon started finding the boundaries. Rahmat in the 36th over brought up his half-century and Hashmatullah followed it up with his half-century in the very next over.

The batters then switched gears and started attacking, Rahmat immediately after his fifty collected a six and a four in Chivanga’s over. Hashmatullah then hit a flurry of boundaries and Afghanistan reached the 200 mark in the 43rd over. The batters continued to collect runs quickly but lost their wickets to pacer Blessing MuzarbaniMuzarbani, falling short of their centuries.

Muzarbani, who was the pick of the bowlers for Zimbabwe with the bowling figures of 4 for 52, dismissed Rahmat Shah on 94 to end the excellent third-wicket partnership. He followed it up with another wicket by getting another set batter Hasmatullah Shahidi on 88 and then piled more pressure on Afghanistan by picking up the important wicket of Mohamad Nabi on 10.

Three quick wickets of Rahmat Shah, Hamatullah Shahidi, and Mohammad Nabi in the final overs put Afghanistan under pressure. However, Rashid Khan came to the rescue and played a fiery knock of 39 runs in 17 balls. He came out to bat in the 47th over and smashed two sixes and four boundaries to help Afghanistan finish at 276/5.

Chasing 277, Zimbabwe lost Regis Chakbva early in the chase, but Innocent Kaia and skipper Craig Ervine kept the chase under control. However, they lost wickets in the middle overs and had half their side was back in the hut within the 32nd over.

Sikandar Raza stood tall from one end and continued to take Zimbabwe closer to the total. But Rashid Khan dismissed Raza (67) at the right time to end Zimbabwe’s hopes of a win. Afghanistan bowlers then ran ‘hrough Zimbabwe’s tail and restricted them to 216 in 50 overs to win the first ODI by 60 runs.

Off-spinner Mohammad Nabi was the main wicket-taker for Afghanistan. He bamboozled the Zimbabwe batters in his brilliant spell that ended with figures of 4/34 while Rashid kept the batters in check and took two wickets, conceding only 39 runs in his spell.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 276/5 in 50 overs (Rahmat Shah 94, Hashmatullah Shahidi 88, Rashid Khan 39 not out; Blessing Muzarabani 4-52) beat Zimbabwe 216 (Sikandar Raza 67, Innocent Kaia 39; Mohammad Nabi 4-34, Rashid Khan 2-39) by 60 runs.

–Ajit Weekly News

avn/bsk

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