Afghanistan humble Zim

NAGPUR - Afghanistan roared into the main draw of the World Twenty20 with an emphatic 59-run victory over Zimbabwe in a first round Group B match in Nagpur yesterday.

Mohammad Shahzad (40) gave Afghanistan a flying start before Mohammad Nabi (52) and Samiullah Shenwari (43) added 98 runs off 64 balls to power them to 186-6, their highest total in this format.

The associate nation then returned to bowl out Zimbabwe for 127 to register a memorable victory over a full-member nation and join England, South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka in Group One of the Super 10 stage of the tournament.

“This was a very important match for us. People in Afghanistan are crazy about cricket. They love the game, so (winning it) was very important for us,” victorious captain Asghar Stanikzai said.

With a place in the main draw at stake, Stanikzai opted to bat and was vindicated as Shahzad set alight Nagpur’s VCA Stadium with his swashbuckling batting.

The portly 28-year-old hit Tendai Chatara for four successive boundaries after a quiet opening over, forcing the pacer off attack. Donald Tiripano was pressed into service but there was no respite from Shahzad who hit him for three successive fours.

Shahzad greeted left-arm spinner Sean Williams by hitting his first delivery for a six but fell in the same over after a 23-ball blitz attempting a reverse sweep.

His dismissal triggered a mini-collapse as Afghanistan, cruising at 49 for no loss in the fifth over, slumped to 63-4 in the eighth.

Nabi then joined forces with Shenwari to first steady the innings before accelerating.

Beneficiary of a missed stumping opportunity, Nabi hit Wellington Masakadza for two sixes in the same over and brought up his maiden fifty in 30 balls before falling in the final over.

Zimbabwe’s erratic bowlers conceded 25 extras, including 17 wides, to make things difficult for themselves.

“Very happy with my performance, especially in this main match and it was a tough game in the qualifying round,” said Nabi.

“The start was very good, the way Shahzad played in the first five overs. It was quite good. Then the three wickets put us under pressure, the coach (Inzamam-ul-Haq) told me to take singles until the 14th over and then the last six can be used for the big hits,” said Nabi.

“On that kind of pitch, 150 could be a winning target. But if you have wickets in hand, you can go for more.”

Chasing a daunting target, Zimbabwe lost their top half for 65 inside 12 overs. Tinashe Panyangara’s unbeaten 17 was the top score in the Zimbabwe innings which ended with two balls left.

Legspinner Rashid Khan was the pick of the Afghan bowlers, claiming three for 11 in his tidy four overs but Nabi, who also got a wicket with the ball, was adjudged man-of-the-match. — Agencies

Comments (2)

Were our bowlers drunk or high on something to concede 17 wides, + 25 extras?. We are a full cricket member nation for christ sake. I am beginning to feel that there is match fixing in our cricket squad set up. There has to be some brakes in our losing streak, its just too much.

X-MAN IV - 13 March 2016

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