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Its been a long tour for Zimbabwe and as we move towards the conclusion of the tour, they'll look to redeem some pride and finish on a high with a victory to their name. The two teams will now lock horns at Sharjah on 18th February 2018. Afghanistan are leading the series 3-1 and would like to wrap up things with a superior lead. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will look to repeat their 2nd ODI's performance to register another win in their series. All the matches on the tour have been played at Sharjah and pitch has appeared to slow down as the series has progressed. While it won't affect the decision after toss much, but the pitch is expected to continue to assist spinners as it has been the story so far.
Afghanistan have clearly enjoyed home-like conditions at Sharjah with bowlers getting the same assistance as they used to get back home. Skipper Asghar Stanikzai has clearly struggled, managing to score only four runs in totality in the series. This, however, hasn't impacted his captaincy at all. He has marshaled his troops beautifully and more often than not, has caught the Zimbabweans off-guard with his decisions.
The bowlers deserve as much as the credit for winning the series as anyone in the team as far as winning the series is concerned. Rashid Khan has been clever with his flight and variations and hasn't been easy to pick. He has been top wicket-taker with 13 wickets to his name at an average of 8.76. He has received ample support from the likes of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammed Nabi.
Afghanistan have come along a long way in little time as far as international performances are concerned. They have punched above their weight and taken the series. Their spinners have been wrecker in chief given the conditions and it won't be surprising if they wreak havoc on the Zimbabweans yet again.
M Shahzad, MJ Ahmadi, R Shah, MA Stanikzai, Nasir Jamal, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Zadran, S Zadran.
Zimbabwe have been far from impressive in their campaign throughout this tour. They came into the series on the back of three losses in T20 series hoping for a turnaround in the longer version, but things clearly haven't gone their way. Both their batsmen and bowlers have failed to fire, largely due to their inability to deal with Rashid Khan and Muneer Ur Rahman.
Zimbabwe managed to square the series in the second ODI where almost all the batsmen managed to get starts and Brendan Taylor scored a superb hundred. He is the top Zimbabwean batsmen with 180 runs in four innings which includes a century as well. Theirbowling hasn't really troubled Afghanistan's batsmen due to the fact that Afghanistan batsmen have never been under the pump. This, of course, has been helped with some poor bowling from the bowlers.
Skipper Graeme Cremer has been good with the ball, picking up 8 wickets in four matches. Zimbabweans have underperformed in this bilateral series right from the beginning and they'd have to step up their game if they intend to put any dent in the home team's armor.
Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Tarisai Musakanda, BRM Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Malcolm Waller, Graeme Cremer, Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara, Tendai Chisoro.
The series which appeared to start as the battle of the equals hasn't ended as such. Afghanistan have clearly dominated the things, be it with the bat or the ball. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, have shown glimpses of brilliance, but they've either been too little or too late or combination of both. With batsmen struggling for Zimbabwe and Rashid Khan and Muneer Ur Rahman in superb bowling rhythm helped with the spinner friendly conditions, Afghanistan are favorites for yet another win.