HARARE – A collective effort from Afghanistan bowlers earned them a well-deserved 54-run victory over hosts Zimbabwe in the second One-Day International (ODI) at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Chasing a target of 239, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 184 as Man of the Match Rashid Khan and fellow spinner Mohammad Nabi played pivotal roles by getting three wickets each conceding 25 and 38 runs respectively.
Apart from these two, Amir Hamza Gulabdin Naib took 2 wickets apiece to help the teams cause. For the hosts, opener Solomon Mire played a cracker of an innings (54) to register his third half-century.
But apart from him and Craig Ervine (34) none other batsmen could withstand the visitor’s spin attack.
Chasing the target of 239, the hosts got off to a very good start as opener Mire blasted the Afghanistan pace attack. He took the aggressive approach since the very first ball and scored runs all around the park.
The Afghanistan pace attack looked helpless as Mire kept hitting big shots. His fellow partner Peter Moor took the anchor’s role and kept rotating the strike whenever he got the opportunity.
Seeing the pacers not making any damage and leaking runs, Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai deployed spin from both the ends.
Having spin bowling from both ends saw Mire finding difficult to score runs easily just like he did against the pacers.
But despite this, he kept on scoring runs and brought up his third fifty in ODIs. Rashid struck against the run of play to clean the timbers of Mire bringing an end to the 69-run stand between the two Zimbabwe openers.
But 8 deliveries later, Moor (17) too departed giving hints of another batting collapse from the hosts. And the situation turned to worse when Hamilton Masakadza (5) walked back towards the dressing room with just 84 runs on the board.
Zimbabwe had lost 3 wickets in a matter of 15 runs. But Ervine and Ryan Burl played sensible innings to stop the downfall of the wickets.
They both scored 55 runs for the 4th wicket at around 4.45 Runs per over, giving their team a hope of winning this game.
But Ervine was dismissed against the run of play and just 11 runs later Burl (27) too departed. Tarisai Muskanda (7) and Malcolm Waller (4) were the last hope for the hosts, but these two never looked comfortable against the wily Afghanistan spinners and eventually perished.
Graeme Cremer (14*) tried to display some fight back but kept on losing partners. Tendai Chatara (4), Christopher Mpofu (0) and Richard Ngarava (10) were cleaned out in-time.
Earlier in the first innings, half-centuries from wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad (64), Rahmat Shah (53) and brisk knocks from Mohammad Nabi (33 off 33) and Najibullah Zadran (45 off 47) saw the visitors posting a challenging total of 238 for 9 in 50 overs. Chatara took 3 wickets while Ngarava and Cremer took 2 wickets each.
With this victory, visitor’s Afghanistan have now taken a 2-0 lead in the five-game ODI series as hosts Zimbabwe lost the series opener at this very same venue by 12 runs (DLS Method) while the third game is to on February 21. – Cricket Country