Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Afghanistan batsman Rahmat Shah struck a career-best 114 as his side crushed Zimbabwe by 154 runs in the first ODI in Sharjah.
Choosing to bat first, Afghanistan got off to an excellent start as Mohammad Shahzad and Ihsanullah amassed a 90-run partnership, during which Ihsanullah brought up his half-century.
However, he was unable to push on as he was caught by Solomon Mire at long-off off the bowling of Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer for 54, which came off 53 balls and included nine boundaries.
Cremer struck again four balls later as Shahzad was caught by Brian Vitori at long-on for 36.
Captain Asghar Stanikzai only made three runs, but Rahmat and Nasir Jamal steadied things with a 66-run stand before Jamal was clean bowled by Sikandar Raza for 31.
Rahmat and Najibullah Zadran kept the runs flowing and ensured Afghanistan concluded their innings on a high as they amassed a 158-run partnership.
Rahmat ended up being dismissed on the last ball of the innings for a career-best 114 off 110 balls, which included eight boundaries and four sixes.
Najibullah, meanwhile, remained unbeaten on 81 off 51 deliveries, which included five boundaries and five sixes, as Afghanistan finished on 333/5 off their 50 overs.
Cremer was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Raza and Kyle Jarvis chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 334 to win, Zimbabwe made a solid start to their innings as Mire and Hamilton Masakadza put together a 50-run partnership before Mire was clean bowled by Dawlat Zadran for 34.
Masakadza fell the very next over as he was caught by Rahmat at long-on off the bowling of Mujeeb Ur Rahman for 16.
Brendan Taylor fared no better as he was caught and bowled by Mohammad Nabi for 16.
Once Taylor was gone, Rashid Khan sliced through Zimbabwe’s middle and lower order. With none of the batsmen putting up a fight, Zimbabwe ended up being bowled out for 179.
Rashid was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Mujeeb took two and Dawlat, Nabi, Rahmat and Gulbadin Naib claimed one wicket each.
Rahmat was named Man of Match.