Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor plays a square cut as Afghanistan wicket-keeper Shafiqullah looks on ©AFP
Jul 18, 2014
The hosts couldn’t have asked for a better start to the bilateral One-Day International (ODI) series with Afghanistan after they cruised to an easy six-wicket win over the visitors chasing 224 with 28 balls to spare. The moment of victory came when Elton Chigumbura hit Sharafuddin Ashraf for a four on the second ball of the 46th over.
Earlier in the day, Afghanistan had put up a decent total of 223 for nine with Samiullah Shenwari scoring an unbeaten 65 off 85 balls. The visitors had shown great recovery from 56 for 3 to 217 for five before losing four wickets in quick succession.
The hosts too had a shaky start, losing their first wicket in the third over with only eight runs on board. At 27 for two, things were looking grim and the batsmen at the crease, Sikandar Raza and Brendan Taylor had a major task on their hands. The two added 62 on the board before Pakistan-born Raza retired hurt temporarily.
Sean Williams came in next, only for Taylor to depart in a short bit. He was joined by Chigumbura with whom he put up a match-winning 85-run fourth-wicket stand. The two played a calm innings, occasionally dispatching the ball towards the boundary. The runs were trickling with ease as the visitors’ hopes slowly started fading.
The wicket of Williams came perhaps at too late a stage, as his departure was greeted with the return of Raza with 29 runs needed off 43 balls. It didn’t take much time for Raza and Chigumbura to complete the task, which was brought up in style by the latter with a boundary.
The win will no doubt serve as a great boost to the morale of the winning side. Zimbabwe will now look to win the remaining matches with similar ease. Afghanistan failed to capitalise on several chances they got throughout the match, and they will definitely regret the last over collapse in their innings as well their bowling performance today. They certainly cannot be written off as yet as they tend to be full of surprises.
Afghanistan 223 for 9 in 50 overs (Noor Ali Zadran 43, Samiullah Shenwari 65, Mohammad Nabi 54; Tendai Chatara 2 for 37) lost to Zimbabwe 227 for 4 in 45.2 overs (Sikandar Raza 42, Brendan Taylor 43, Sean Williams 70; Shapoor Zadran 1 for 32) by 6 wickets.