Zimbabwe given a hammering by Afghanistan
By Krunal Gandhi, MyCricketHighlights Writer
1st ODI: Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah, Feb 09 - 2018, Cricket highlights
The opening game of the 5-match ODI series between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe turned out to be a one-sided encounter, as the hosts dominated the contest and recorded a massive win by 154 runs.
The openers provided Afghanistan with a great start as they added 90 runs for the first wicket. The important thing about the partnership was the pace at which they scored the runs. Both Mohammad Shahzad and Ihsanullah Janat looked in great touch and the latter even brought up his half-century in 47 balls.
Zimbabwe’s bowlers looked ineffective against the opening pair and conceded a boundary in almost every other over. Finally, it was their captain Graeme Cremer, who not only broke the partnership, but got rid of both the batsmen in one over. A few overs later, Cremer gave the hosts another blow by dismissing his opposite number [Asghar Stanikzai] for just 3.
The wickets helped Zimbabwe to slow things down and get some control over the proceedings. But at the same time, the pair of Rahmat Shah and Nasir Jamal was able to stitch a partnership together. They took their time to settle down and played according to the situation in the middle overs. Rahmat Shah, in particular, looked in solid touch and played some delightful shots to bring up his fifty. He, however, was not done yet.
After Jamal was cleaned up by Raza in the 35th over, Rahmat and Najibullah Zadran joined hands to take the match away from the visitors. The pair added 122 runs in the last 10 overs and helped Afghanistan to post a massive total of 333 runs on the board. All the Zimbabwean bowlers took a beating in the slog overs as the two batsmen went berserk. Chatara even bowled the most expensive over of the match, wherein he conceded 30 runs. While Rahmat completed a fine century, Zadran hammered 81 off just 51 balls and played just the kind of knock that the hosts would have hoped for.
The target was a steep one to chase for Zimbabwe and despite a getting a good start from their openers, they fell well short of it. Once Solomon Mire (34) was dismissed on the score of 50, they lost a couple of more wickets in quick succession and found themselves in a spot of bother at 78 for 3.
Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza then tried to revive the innings by stitching a partnership. Their alliance, however, couldn’t last long as Ervine was bowled by the 16 yr. old Mujeeb Zadran. Even before Rashid Khan came into the attack, Zimbabwe had lost four of their top-order batsmen. The wily leg-spinner then did what he does best and that is to run through the batting order. He picked up three wickets in no time and reduced the visitors to 136 for 8.
Kyle Jarvis played a cameo, scoring 20 off 14 balls, to elongate the inevitable and once he was dismissed by the centurion Rahmat Shah, Rashid wrapped up the innings by picking up the last wicket of Brian Vitori.