The Afghanistan top-order complemented their medium-pacer Dawlat Zadran’s three-wicket haul with resourceful performances to take their side over the line in a stiff chase of 154.
Opting bat after winning the toss, hosts Zimbabwe were off to a flyer as openers Sikandar Raza and Chamu Chibhabha slammed fifties and put on a breezy 100-run stand. The first breakthrough came in the 13th over, when leggie Rashid Khan flummoxed Raza with his flight – the batsman playing early and hitting the ball straight back to the bowler. Dawlat did not let another partnership to flourish as struck thrice in quick succession. Zimbabwe went from 100 for 1 in the 13th over to 142 to 4 in the 19th and finished at 153 for 5 in their quota of 20 overs.
Afghanistan opener Mohammad Shahzad threw caution to the winds with six boundaries in his 21-ball knock of 34 but Zimbabwe picked up wickets at crucial junctures to keep the match in the balance. Despite losing three wickets at the halfway stage, Afghanistan ensured they were slightly ahead of the asking rate, keeping the pressure squarely on the hosts. Zimbabwe’s hopes of a late comeback were quashed by a steady knock from the experienced duo of Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran, who added an unbeaten stand of 69 runs for the fifth wicket to take the side over the finish line with six wickets and five balls to spare.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 154 for 4 (Najibullah Zadran 37, Mohammad Nabi 33; Tendai Chisoro 1-26) beat Zimbabwe 153 for 5 (Sikandar Raza 59, Chamu Chibhabha 54; Dawlat Zadran 3-29) by 6 wickets.