AFGHANISTAN toured ZIMBABWE for playing T20 series consisting of 2 matches. Both contests were held at Queen Sports Club Bulawayo on 26th and 28th October respectively. Both matches were quite close as the AFGHANISTAN was no pushover and they rightly won the series 2-0. It was a huge setback for the home team however it symbolized the rise of minnow Afghanistan as a cricketing power of the future.
The top scorer of series was SIKANDAR RAZA from Zimbabwe who notched up 80 runs from 2 innings at a healthy average of 40 with the highest score being 59. His strike rate of more than 140 signaled his intent to tear into opposition even when the chips were down. USMAN GHANI from AFGHANISTAN was a close second with a score of 78 runs at a strike rate of 123. He played an important contribution in the win of Afghanistan by his impeccable scoring streak.
DAWLAT ZADRAN, the fast bowler from Afghanistan delivered a commendable performance in bowling to take key Zimbabwe wickets and help the tourists to notch up an important win. Zimbabwe side was led by the ever reliable ELTON CHIGUMBURA while ASGHAR STANIKZAI was managing the reins of the Afghanistan team. In spite of the war torn state in the country, the Afghan team did a commendable job in delivering impeccable performance in the series.
From Zimbabwe SEAN WILLIAMS and CHAMU CHIBHABHA shone in the bowling department however their efforts were not enough to see the Zimbabwe home. Led by First NAJIBULLAH ZADRAN and then USMAN GHANI, the tourists made short work of the target that was set by the home side.
As far as most wickets are concerned, DAWLAT ZADRAN took 5 wickets from both matches at miserly economic rate of 6.62 and an average hovering just above 10 runs. From Zimbabwe CJ CHIBHABHA was the highest wicket taker with 2 wickets at an average of 22 runs. It explains partially why the Zimbabwe team lost the series. The tourists sorted out the home side bowlers and quickly overhauled the score. Sikandar RAZA for Zimbabwe tried to stabilize the middle order during batting however he didn’t get support from the other end.
Amazing Cameo knock of 56 from GULBADIN NAIB from Afghanistan pulled the team from the jail and placed it right at the top. Home side’s bowlers were not sharp enough and couldn’t fire Yorkers are the death. As a result, Afghanistan batsmen got length deliveries at the end of the innings and made the most of the situation. USMAN GHANI rubbed salt in to the wounds of ZIMBABWE by notching up the highest score of 65 runs from 45 balls. The top four bowling slots of the series are occupied by the Afghan players. They have been incisive and consistently bowled sharp in swingers to prevent the Zimbabweans to play their natural game. ZADRAN and co managed to stifle the run rate in the last over with low full tosses and booming Yorkers. All in all, the series heralds the arrival of the Afghanistan team at the international stage.