About the Match
Afghanistan and Zimbabwe have developed a healthy rivalry over the past few years or so as they continue to play against each other frequently. Both the teams sit outside of the ‘big’ International teams radar at the moment, although it can be argued that Afghanistan has risen to this level while Zimbabwe has fallen.
The first ODI victory for Afghanistan was a lucky one after they squeezed past thanks to DRS. What does the second ODI hold in store?
2nd ODI Preview
Being the home team and the senior cricketing nation Zimbabwe are expected to win more matches than they lose against Afghanistan. Over the last three series, though, that has not happened and they have ended up drawing one series 2-2 while losing the other two 2-1.
They would be acutely aware that this first match could have provided them a crucial victory had Ryan Burl not got out just before the rain break. However, there were quite a few positives for the team from the first match.
Zimbabwe has started on a reinvigoration path for the national team and given plenty of youngsters chances in this series. Chatara and Ngarava were very economical while picking wickets at the same time while the experienced Graeme Cremer took three important wickets in the match.
Ryan Burl has also been given this opportunity on the back some impressive A team performances and looked good during his time in the middle.
Craig Ervine would be disappointed to have been left stranded in the middle with the rain intervening but everything was pointing towards a close match.
A look at the familiar Afghan names picked for the first ODI will show you that this is a very settled team, however, that is not always a good thing. There need to be players coming through that push the incumbents to stay on their toes. It is unclear if Afghanistan is producing enough talent to keep refreshing their team at appropriate times.
Their batting effort was surprisingly sedate in the first match and even though plenty of their batsmen got a start, no one really went on to make it count. Only Asghar Stanikzai managed to score a fifty from their team.
The real telling contribution came from Rashid Khan who smashed 32 from just 18 deliveries near the end of the innings. He has become one of Afghanistan’s most valuable players with the ball and through his batting cameos.
The bowling attack for Zimbabwe did not face too much of high-quality opposition and four bowlers ended up sharing the wickets between them. Mohammad Nabi and Gulabdin Naib were very impressive in keeping things tight, but we thought that Rashid Khan looked the most likely one to take some wickets.
Expect him to be a lot more in the game if the wickets continue to be slow, low and aiding the spinners.
This second match at the Harare Sports Club may be hit by rain once again and so teams should be more proactive in their DRS planning. It should be a relatively low scoring match but one that we expect Zimbabwe to make a comeback and win.