Zim Lose to Afghanstan by 5 wickets

Mohammad Nabi top scored with 40 runs to help Afghanistan cricket team beat Zimbabwe by five wickets in the first T20 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on yesterday . Afghanistan scored 121/5 in 14.4 overs, chasing 120 for victory.

By Sports Reporter 

Earlier, Rashid Khan claimed three wickets while Sharafuddin Ashraf took two as Afghanistan restricted Zimbabwe cricket team to 120/9 after the “hosts” won the toss and opted to field. The two teams will play one more T20 on Today before taking on each other in five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) from February 9 to 19.

Zimbabwe were dismissed for 121-5 in 14.4 overs in their first innings and then 120-9 in 20 overs 121 in their follow-on in reply to Afghanstan could not sustain them ,leading to a narrow five wickets defeat  in their first Twenty-20 international (T20I) match owing  to a serious batting collapse .

The only time Zimbabwe appeared to be in the match was during the first-wicket partnership of 52 between Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire.

Afghanistan opened with their spin bowlers, but the batsmen handled them well and 23 runs came off the fourth over, bowled by the left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf, After 5.5 overs Mire was caught at midwicket off the medium-pacer Aftab Alam, having scored 34 off 21 balls, with five fours and two sixes.

At this point the Zimbabwe batsmen became bogged down, and Brendan Taylor could manage only three runs off 11 balls before, in desperation, he ran himself out.

Meanwhile Masakadza was bowled for 18 and the middle order, under high pressure to score quickly, collapsed to 85 for eight wickets at the start of the 17th over.

This score was made despite some very poor fielding by the Afghan team, who missed several possible catches or run-out opportunities.

leg-spinner Rashid Khan, kept back for the final overs, took three wickets for 19 runs, while Ashraf recovered from his one disastrous over to take two for 31.

Zimbabwe cricket spokesperson Darlington Majonga hailed the team for the performance although they faced various resistance from their opponents.

“Muzarabani took two expensive wickets, but overall Zimbabwe’s bowlers did quite a good job considering they had too few runs to be able to pull the match out of the fire, When Afghanistan replied Chatara should have had the wicket of Mohammad Shahzad for two in his first over, but Mire could not hold the difficult chance off a skyer but  we expect the boys to do well when they meet again in second T20 today  at the same venue “

However, a bouncer from Kyle Jarvis accounted for Karim Sadiq, who was caught at the wicket for five, the wicket falling at 15,while Shahzad laid into the bowling with a vengeance, scoring 20 off 11 balls, but then edged a ball from Blessing Muzarabani to the keeper.

There were no further alarms for Afghanistan, and Nabi (41) and Shafiqullah (14) took them home without further loss with five overs to spare.

Tongai Mwenje

Tongai Mwenje is a Senior Editor with Zimbabwe's largest online sports magazine Sportbrief www.sportbrief.co.zw. He has been writing professionally since 2012 and currently writes for technology and sport blogs. He has vast experience in digital marketing, sports reporting and analysis. He is also a Sports and Technology columnist with Financial Gazette Online Sports Column and Technology Magazine respectively.

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