Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Afghanistan batsmen Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah scored 33 and 37 respectively to lead their side to a comfortable six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 International in Bulawayo.
However, Zimbabwe’s opening duo of Sikandar Raza and Chamu Chibhabha deserve a lot of credit as they scored 59 and 54 respectively.
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura would have been thrilled with his decision to bat first as Raza and Chibhabha amassed a 100-run partnership, during which Raza surpassed his half-century, before he was caught and bowled by Rashid Khan.
Raza’s career-best innings of 59 came off 41 balls and included five boundaries and a six.
Chibhabha was on his way back to the pavilion a short while later when he was clean bowled by Dawlat Zadran for 54 off 47 deliveries, which included six boundaries.
Following Chibhabha’s dismissal, Zimbabwe began to collapse as they went from 125/2 to finishing on 153/5 off their 20 overs.
Dawlat Zadran was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Khan and Nabi chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 154 to win, Afghanistan got off to a solid start before they started to lose wickets in a hurry. With the tourists having been reduced to 85/4 in the 11th over, Nabi and Najibullah Zadran put together an unbeaten 69-run stand to finish things off.
Nabi ended up making 33 off 25 balls, which included two sixes, while Zadran remained undefeated on 37 off 26 deliveries, which included two boundaries and two sixes.
Sean Williams, Wellington Masakadza and Tendai Chisoro claimed one wicket each.