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With the first test match between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe ending in just five days, the two teams had ample time to plan out their strategy for the second test. Zimbabwe are chasing a series win, which has been a rare sight for them in the last couple of decades whereas Afghanistan would want to show that they are no pushovers.
Afghanistan struggled to adapt to the conditions in the first that, but they'll arguably be a better team than they were in then. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will be brimming with confidence. The upcoming match is going to be a cracker of a contest and the fans are certainly in for a treat. This match is to be played at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, on 10th March 2021.
While one could argue the reason for Afghanistan's listless performance to be the fact that they were playing after a long time, it cannot continue to be the excuse in the upcoming match. Surprisingly, there was no improvement seen in the second innings ss well as they bundled out like a pack of cards.
The visitors will be boosted by the return of Rashid Khan, who can arguably make the difference even in the longest format of the game. Their left-arm spinner, Amir Hamza proved to be the weaker-in-chief for them as he dismmised six Zimbabwe's batsmen. Rashid Khan also likely to take the ball away from the right handers and that too with a greater magnitude. With him back, Afghanistan certainly appears to be a stronger unit.
It wasn't that Afghanistan did not have the firepower or skill with the bat. However, they lacked someone who could stay at the crease for longer periods and does not get intimidated by the format of the game. They have plenty of players to do that job and if someone is able to guide them through, they'll be in business.
Ibrahim Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, R Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Nasir Jamal, Afsar Zazai, Asghar Afghan, Shahidullah Kamal, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Sayed Shirzad.
Coming into the series, Zimbabwe were certainly not at their full-strength. They did not have the services of Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine then but still managed to do commendably well in the previous test. The players were all pretty young but utilized the conditions perfectly to their advantage.
Their struggle against the spinners was pretty apparent as Amir Hamza dismissed six of their batsmen. While Zimbabwe ended up winning the first match, they would not be too happy with the way they batted. It was more that Afghanistan gifted the match to Zimbabweans and things could change pretty rapidly in the second match.
One of the major reason for their stupendous win was the spectacular show by their bowlers and blessing Muzarabani played a massive role in that. On the whole, Zimbabwe did stupendously well with the new ball and that was arguably the difference between the two sides. With the bat, the skipper scored a massive century and that played a key role in taking the hosts home.
Going into the next match, there is certainly room for Zimbabwe's batting to improve. They looked a little over-reliant on their skipper and other batsmen will have to contribute with Afghanistan's team getting buffed up. If that happens, Zimbabwe will be in for yet another successful outing.
Prince Masvaure, Kevin Kasuza, Tarisai Musakanda, Sean Williams, Wesley Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva, Donald Tiripano, Blessing Muzarabani, Victor Nyauchi.
While Zimbabwe won the first match, they weren't too far ahead of Afghanistan. The addition of Rashid Khan should add sharpness to their attack and that could hurt Zimbabwe's chances. Considering that and the other aforementioned reasons, betting on Afghanistan could return fruitful rewards.
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