Zimbabwe vs Afghanistan 1st ODI: Williams steals the spotlight in easy Zimbabwe win

Williams (left) hit eight boundaries during his crucial knock of 70

Williams (left) hit eight boundaries during his crucial knock of 70

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Zimbabwe batsman Sean Williams stole the spotlight with his lovely knock of 70 during his side’s comfortable six-wicket win over Afghanistan in the first ODI in Bulawayo.

However, Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi and all-rounder Samiullah Shenwari played a vital role for their side as well as the tourists would not have amassed such a competitive total without their half-centuries.

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor would have been delighted with his decision to bowl first after Afghanistan opener Usman Ghani was caught by Elton Chigumbura off the bowling of debutant Donald Tiripano for a duck.

Asghar Stanikzai only made eight runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Tendai Chatara.

Hashmatullah Shaidi scored 15 runs before he was caught by Sikandar Raza off the bowling of Chatara.

Noor Ali Zadran made a solid 43, which came off 107 balls and included five boundaries, before he was run out by wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva.

Nabi and Shenwari stabilised the innings with a 73-run partnership, during which Nabi brought up his half-century, before he was caught by Raza off the bowling of Prosper Utseya.

Nabi’s quickfire knock of 54 came off 32 balls and included three boundaries and three sixes.

Wicketkeeper Shafiqullah scored 24 runs before he was also caught by Raza, but only off the bowling of Tinashe Panyangara.

Following Shafiqullah’s dismissal, Afghanistan’s lower order completely collapsed and they eventually finished on 223/9 off their 50 overs thanks to Shenwari’s unbeaten 65, which came off 85 deliveries and included three boundaries and a six.

Shenwari's unbeaten 65 helped Afghanistan finish on 223

Shenwari’s unbeaten 65 helped Afghanistan finish on 223

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Chatara and Tiripano picked up two wickets apiece, while Utseya and Panyangara chipped in with one wicket each.

Chasing 224 to win, Zimbabwe got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Vusi Sibanda was caught behind off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran for just four runs.

Hamilton Masakadza only made 10 runs before he was caught by Shaidi off the bowling of Dawlat Zadran.

Raza and Taylor stabilised the innings with a 62-run partnership before Raza decided to retire.

Taylor went on to score 43 before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Shenwari.

Williams and Chigumbura steered Zimbabwe back in the right direction with an 85-run partnership, during which Williams brought up his half-century, before he was caught and bowled by Nabi for 70 off 65 balls, which included eight boundaries and a six.

Raza returned after Williams’ dismissal and he and Chigumbura took Zimbabwe across the finish line with 28 balls to spare.

Raza finished on 42 off 61 balls, which included six boundaries, while Chigumbura remained undefeated on 39 off 60 deliveries, which included four boundaries.

Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Nabi and Shenwari claimed one wicket each.

Williams was named Man of the Match for his outstanding knock of 70.

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