Home side grabs 1-0 lead in five-match series after defeating Afghanistan by eight wickets in Bulawayo
Wellington Masakadza may be light on experience but he proved to be a quite a handful for Afghanistan in the first One-Day International on Friday (October 16), picking up 4 for 21 in just his fourth ODI, to help Zimbabwe win by eight wickets.
Opting to bat first at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, Afghanistan never quite recovered from the 22-year-old left-arm spinner's spell as it was bowled out for 122 in 34.1 overs. Zimbabwe then chased down the total in 23.2 overs.
Afghanistan hasn't played an ODI since the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, and its rustiness was apparent as only four batsmen crossed into double digits.
Luke Jongwe set the tone for Zimbabwe, removing Noor Ali Zadran, Nawroz Mangal and Asghar Stanikzai, the captain, as Afghanistan was reduced to 34 for 3 in the tenth over.
But there was no respite for the visiting side as Masakadza tore through the middle order, dismissing Mohammads Shezhad and Nabi off consecutive deliveries. Najibullah Zadran survived the hat-trick ball, but Masakadza sent the dangerous Samiullah Shenwari back to the dressing room next for 17.
There were no lower-order heroics either as Tendai Chisoro mopped up the tail to finish with three wickets on his ODI debut.
Zimbabwe's batsmen then backed up the bowlers' good show, with a 53-run opening stand from Richmond Mutumbami and Chamu Chibhabha. Aftab Alam managed to break the partnership in the 12th over, having Mutumbami caught behind for 30.
Chibhabha (58) brought up his half-century, but was out to Amir Hamza soon after. Victory, however, beckoned.
Tinotenda Mutombodzi then slammed two fours and a six, with Craig Ervine in tow, to finish the game in style and give Zimbabwe a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.