Zimbabwe bowled out for 54 as visitor completes 106-run win and seals five-match ODI series 3-2
Afghanistan defeated Zimbabwe by 106 runs on the DLS method in a rain-curtailed fifth and final One-Day International in Harare to take the series 3-2 on Sunday (February 26).
After opting to bat, Afghanistan posted 253 for 9 in its allotted 50 overs on the back of an even half-century from Rahmat Shah and 40s from Noor Ali Zadran and Mohammad Nabi.
There was a long rain delay immediately after the conclusion of the first innings, which necessitated shaving off of 28 overs from the second innings and a revised target of 161 for Zimbabwe to win the series in 22 overs.
Nabi (3 for 14) and Amir Hamza (3 for 20) were the standout bowling performers as the host was bowled out for just 54 in 13.5 overs.
This is now Zimbabwe's third-lowest total in ODIs, and its lowest against Afghanistan. The team also holds the dubious record for the lowest ever total, when it was skittled for 35 by Sri Lanka in 2004 at the same venue.
Zimbabwe had a horrible start to its innings. When Peter Moor fell to Dawlat Zadran for three at the end of the second over, the host had managed just three runs on the board.
It then kept losing wickets at an alarming rate and the procession never ceased. That only Ryan Burl (11) and Graeme Cremer (14 not out), the captain, got into double figures highlights an overall below-par performance.
The 16-run partnership between Tarisai Musakanda and Burl for the fifth wicket was the biggest Zimbabwe could muster.
When Afghanistan batted by choice, Mohammad Shahzad and Noor Ali got it off to a positive start by putting on 33 in just 34 deliveries. After Shahzad fell for a run-a-ball 20, Noor Ali kicked on to make 46 off 49 with seven fours and a six, before Rahmat held the innings together with 50 from 79.
Nabi provided the late thrust with 48 off 40 balls with four fours and a six, putting on 44 for the eighth wicket with Rashid Khan in just 34 deliveries. Rashid, who made 18 off 17, then complemented Nabi with the ball with his legspin, finishing with 2 for 8.
Chris Mpofu (3 for 46) and Richard Ngarava (2 for 37) shared five wickets between them to emerge Zimbabwe’s best bowlers.
Afghanistan won the first two matches before Zimbabwe clinched the next two to push it to a decider. The pattern as well as the final scoreline was the same as last year, when Afghanistan won a five-match series 3-2.
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