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18 July 201420:46

Williams stars as Zimbabwe wins first ODI

Good hands from Noor Ali Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi go in vain as Afghanistan loses by 6 wickets

Williams stars as Zimbabwe wins first ODI - Cricket News

Sean Williams looked in fine form during his 65-ball 70.

It's been almost a year since Zimbabwe last played a One-Day International – against Pakistan in August 2013 – but there were hardly any signs of rustiness as it fashioned a six-wicket win in the first of its four ODIs against Afghanistan in Bulawayo on Friday (July 18).

Samiullah Shenwari helped Afghanistan, who was asked to bat, recover with an unbeaten 65 after an early stutter at Queens Sports Club, to post 223 for 9, but that innings finished second best to Sean Williams’s 70.

Chasing 224, Zimbabwe lost Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza rather cheaply, but Sikandar Raza and Brendan Taylor, the captain, kept the innings chugging. Raza retired hurt for 38, but if Afghanistan was hoping for some respite, it wasn’t coming.

Williams looked in fine form as Taylor and he put the hosts on course for the win with a 93-run stand for the third wicket.

Shenwari trapped Taylor in front for 43, but Williams continued to hurt Afghanistan with another partnership, yielding 85 runs, this time with Elton Chigumbura. Williams's 65-ball knock came to an end when he was caught off Mohammad Nabi but, by then, a victory for Zimbabwe was a foregone conclusion.

Raza returned to finish unbeaten on 42 and, alongside Chigumbura, helped Zimbabwe reach 227 for 4 with 28 balls to spare.

Earlier, Zimbabwe prised out three quick wickets to reduce Afghanistan to 56 for 3 by the 19th over. Donald Tiriano had Usmani Ghani caught by Chigumbura for naught and Tendai Chatara followed it up with the wickets of Asghar Stanikzai and Hashmatullah Shaidi.

And so it fell upon Shenwari to steady the innings. No stranger to pressure, having helped the side to a win over Bangladesh in the Asia Cup with a breathtaking 81, Shenwari proved that he could cut out the extravagant strokes and play according to the situation.

He added 43 runs with Noor Ali Zadran (43), the opener, before partnering up with Nabi for a 73-run stand for the fifth wicket. Nabi went at breakneck pace, blasting 54 from 36 balls, before he fell to Prosper Utseya.