Afghanistan’s bowlers combined to roll Zimbabwe over for 54, helping the visitors seal a 3-2 series win with a 106-run D/L victory in the final ODI in Harare.
Afghanistan elected to bat and were provided a brisk start thanks to opener Noor Ali Zadran’s 49-ball 46, even as Zimbabwe got regular breakthroughs early on. Noor Ali eventually fell at the end of the 15th over, a wicket that put the brakes on Afghanistan’s momentum as captain Asghar Stanikzai and Rahmat Shah tried to steady the innings from 85 for 3. The pair put on 39 off 64 balls, which was followed by a fifth-wicket stand of 35 between Shah and Samiullah Shenwari. After Rahmat reached his fifty, both he and Shenwari were run-out as Afghanistan found themselves at 172 for 6 at the 40-over mark.
Allrounder Mohammad Nabi then batted with the lower order, hitting four fours and a six in his 48 off 40 balls. Dawlat Zadran hit 14 off 6 balls to lift them to 253 for 9. Medium-pacer Chris Mpofu finished with figures of 3 for 46 while the spin duo of Graeme Cremer and Sean Williams kept things tight and conceded a combined 74 in 20 overs.
Zimbabwe’s response was delayed by rain and a wet outfield, leaving them with a revised target of 161 off 22 overs. They suffered an early blow, losing Peter Moor in the second over. Three balls later, left-arm spinner Amir Hamza removed Solomon Mire, before returning two more wickets off four balls in his next over to reduce Zimbabwe to 13 for 4.
There was to be no recovery, with only two batsmen getting into double-figures, as Nabi and Rashid Khan – who were both picked up by the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the IPL auction earlier this week – took combined figures of 5 for 22. Rahmat was named Man of the Match for his fifty.
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