Zimbabwe’s miserable limited-over series in Sharjah ended with another botched attempt at overcoming spin barrage as Afghanistan finished the series – which they had already pocketed in the previous fixture – with a resounding 147-run victory.
Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Sharafuddin Ashraf had a crippling effect on Zimbabwe’s middle and lower order as Graeme Cremer’s men folded for 95 in response to Afghanistan’s 240 for 9. With this win, Afghanistan finished the series 4-1.
Zimbabwe would’ve walked off at the halfway stage knowing fully well that they squandered the chance of bowling out Afghanistan for a sub-200 total but failed. Yet, the target wasn’t very steep and very gettable.
But their batsmen just couldn’t apply themselves in the face of a familiar and relentless spin once again. As has been the case all through the series, the only little fight came from senior likes Brendon Taylor and Craig Ervine, whose 46-run partnership gave hope, only to be crushed prematurely.
Earlier in the day, Afghanistan were buoyed by a second-wicket partnership worth 129 runs between Rahmat Shah and Javed Ahmadi but suffered a batting implosion of their own. Once Sikandar Raza found a way to breach the long alliance, the brittle middle-order was there for the taking. At one point Afghanistan were headed towards a modest first-innings total, but Rashid entered the scene and turned the course with his bat.
His 51-run stand with Ashraf and scored a blazing 29-ball 43 as Afghanistan went close to the 250-run mark, which proved to be more than enough to end the series on a winning note.
AFG 241/9 (50 ov) | Javed 76, Rahmat 59 | Raza 2/41
ZIM 95 (32.1 ov) | Ervine 34 | Rashid 3/13, M Nabi 2/26
Result: Afghanistan won by 146 runs