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Afghanistan has taken a 2-1 lead in the ODI series against Zimbabwe after winning the 3rd ODI by 6 wickets; now the two teams will meet for the 4th ODI at Sharjah on 16th February. Zimbabwe failed to defend a lowly total of 154 that they set batting first in the last match; they will need to put up a better performance in the upcoming match if they want to keep the series alive. Afghanistan yet again put up an all-round show with the spinners demolishing the opponents convincingly; it needs to be seen if they can keep the tempo up and wrap up a series win here on Friday.
Rashid Khan has been on a roll with his spin attack, and he took a superb 5-24 in the last match to stifle the Zimbabwe middle-order; spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman claimed 3-45, and together they restricted the opposition to 154 runs. Pacers Gulbadin Naib and Dawlat Zadran also took a wicket each, and the batsmen then cruised down to victory thanks to well-made half-centuries by both Rahmat Shah and Nasir Jamal. Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran kept the scoreboard ticking and add depth to the batting line-up that consists of players like Ihsanullah and Mohammad Shahzad.
In the 2nd ODI, they had to face a challenging total of 334, and they failed to do so getting all-out for 179. Rahmat Shah top-scored with 43 off 61 while Nabi and Dawlat Zadran contributed with 31 and 47 runs respectively. However, with others hardly giving any support, they lost the match by 154 runs, an exact reversal of their win against Zimbabwe in the first ODI.
Afghanistan has done well to make a stunning comeback in the series, and they have enough match-winners to keep the momentum going.
M Shahzad, Ihsanullah, R Shah, Nasir Jamal, Mohammad Nabi, N Zadran, MA Stanikzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Zadran.
Tendai Chatara’s superb 2-18 went in vain as they failed to defend 154 runs against Afghanistan in the last ODI; Cremer and Ryan Burl took a wicket each, but they lost the match by 6 wickets. Earlier the batsmen put up a dismal show with players like Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Malcolm Waller and captain Graeme Cremer getting out for single digits. Solomon Mire pitched in with 22 runs while Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza fought hard by scoring 30+ runs each; however, with the batsmen collapsing quickly against a determined Afghani spin attack, they could muster only 154 runs in the end.
Wicket-keeper batsman Brendan Taylor made a stupendous comeback as he posted a heroic 125 off 121 in the 2nd ODI to take the total to 333 and helping the team draw level by winning the match. All-rounder Sikandar Raza contributed with 92 runs while Masakadza pitched in with 48. Later, the bowlers led by Cremer’s 4-41, demolished the Afghanistan batting line-up and took the team to an exhilarating win by 154 runs. Speedsters Chatara and Blessing Muzurabani claimed 5 wickets between them and Brian Vitori made a good comeback to the squad by taking a wicket in an economical manner.
Zimbabwe faces a crucial situation here as this is a must-win game; they would need to pull up their socks and do well with the bat.
Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, BRM Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Tarisai Musakanda, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani.
Afghanistan has showcased its strength in all the departments and with their in-form spin attack getting stronger with every passing match, they have an edge here to win the match and take the series.