Brendan Taylor slammed his ninth ODI hundred    AFP
Brendan Taylor slammed his ninth ODI hundred AFP

Zimbabwe came back strong after a humiliating defeat in the first ODI. Opting to bat first against Afghanistan in the second match, Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza smashed Afghan spinners to bits. Their constant onslaught enabled Zimbabwe reach a competitive target of 333 for 5, including a hundred from Taylor.

Zimbabwe were off to a poor start, losing Solomon Mire for 9. It took the combined experience of Hamilton Masakadza and Brendon Taylor in reviving their fortunes. Masakadza, in particular, took on the bowling and did not allow Afghanistan spinners to settle in.

Taylor soon joined the fun as the pair added 50 runs in quick time. Taylor was heavy on Gulbadan Naib, smacking him for two sixes. Masakadza was run out on 48 after a mix-up.

Taylor recorded his 34th ODI fifty in 53 deliveries. Craig Ervine joined Taylor in the middle and continued to milk runs off Mohammad Nabi and Naib. Taylor, post his fifty, launched an attack that included back-to-back sixes off Rahmat Shah. Just as the stand was nearing 50, Rashid Khan broke the partnership, getting rid of Ervine for 14.

Sikandar Raza came out with a clear intent of upping the ante. He in no time reached 30 runs in a stand of 50 with Taylor. Taylor, on the other hand, smacked Rahmat for sixes time and again.

Raza reached his individual milestone of 50 runs in 49 balls, his 11th in the formar. Taylor scored his ninth ODI hundred in 110 balls, his first after coming back from retirement. They completed their 100-run stand. With personal milestones out of the way, Raza and Taylor shifted gears lambasting the likes of Daulat and Naib out of the park on multiple occasions.

Rashid came back for his final over and cleaned up Taylor. Premeditating his shot, Taylor missed a straighter one from Rashid, departing for 125.

Raza continued his domination and hit sixes and fours at the expense of poor bowling by Afghanistan. Naib and Dawlat leaked runs both ends in the final overs. Raza narrowly missed his fourth ODI hundred falling on 92 to Naib.

Malcom Waller and Ryan Burl remained unbeaten on 17* and 12*respectively as Zimbabwe’s innings closed on 333 for 5.

Brief scores:

Zimbabwe 333 for 5 (Brendan Taylor 125, Sikandar Raza 92 ; Rashid Khan 2 for 32) vs Afghanistan.