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Ghani, Naib give Afghanistan landmark win

Five-wicket victory in second game against Zimbabwe helps visitor add T20I crown to ODI series title

Ghani, Naib give Afghanistan landmark win - Cricket News
Afghanistan capped off its memorable tour of Zimbabwe with a 2-0 win in the Twenty20 International series, overhauling the 191-run target off the penultimate ball in the second T20I on Wednesday (October 28) in Bulawayo with five wickets in hand.
 
It was the icing on the cake for Afghanistan after it earlier scripted a 3-2 victory in the One-Day International series, becoming the first Associate nation to beat a Full-Member team in a bilateral ODI exchange. 
 
On Wednesday, Zimbabwe, winning the toss and opting to bat at Queens Sports Club, made a significant improvement from the previous match where the batsmen mustered only 153 for 5, reaching 190 for 7. 
 


But the bowlers squandered the advantage as Afghanistan's openers forged a 95-run stand in 10.3 overs. Usman Ghani, in particular, looked in imperious touch as he hit his maiden T20I fifty, outscoring Mohammad Shahzad, his better-known partner.
 
It was Chamu Chibhabha's medium pace and a brilliant diving catch by Neville Madziva that finally gave Zimbabwe the breakthrough as Ghani perished for a 45-ball 65. Chibhabha then removed Shahzad off the next ball to get the home side back in the game.
 
Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran both fell cheaply and, at 152 for 4 with 39 runs required from 18 balls, it looked like a fairy tale end would elude Afghanistan.
 


But Gulbadin Naib (56 off 31 balls) slammed a maiden T20I half-century off just 28 balls and reduced the equation to a more manageable nine off six balls and eventually took his team home in collaboration with Shafiqullah to add another feather to Afghanistan’s cap.
 
Unlike Afghanistan, Zimbabwe was rocked early when it lost Chibhabha on the second ball. Sikander Raza hit a few boundaries, but a short ball from Naib led to his downfall on 21. 
 
Sean Williams, however, was in no mood to slow down. Alternating between the reverse sweep and the slog sweep, Williams hit a flurry of boundaries, racing to the joint-fastest T20I half-century by a Zimbabwe player, off just 21 balls.
 
But Afghanistan brought back Rashid Khan, who was spanked for 19 runs off his first over, and the leg-spinner struck gold, removing Williams for 54 off 26 balls.
 
Afghanistan did its best to limit the damage that Williams had caused with a few tidy overs, but Richmond Mutumbami (43 off 33 balls) remained firm.
 
Dawlat Zadran (2 for 24), Naib (2 for 40) and Amir Hamza (2 for 26) were the main wicket-takers for Afghanistan, and though Zimbabwe managed to add 45 runs for the loss of three wickets in the last five overs, Afghanistan was just too good for it on the day.

To see the full scorecard of this game, please click here.

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