Recent Match Report – Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe 2nd T20I 2022

Recent Match Report – Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe 2nd T20I 2022

Afghanistan 170 for 5 (Najibullah 57, Nabi 43*, Chatara 2-33) beaten Zimbabwe 149 for 7 (Kaia 54, Raza 41, Rashid 2-32, Farooqi 1-19) by 21 points

Afghanistan overcame a late surge of Sikandar Raza to successfully defend 170 and sew the T20I series 2-0, with one game to play, in Harare. Rashid Khanwho had the day off until the final rallies, fired heavy hitter Raza for 41 of 21 balls and Ryan Burl for a duck in a deciding 18th that cost just seven runs.

Zimbabwe opener Innocent Kaia scored his first T20 fifty, but needed 52 balls for the benchmark as he struggled to find a higher tempo throughout his innings.

When Raza joined Kaia, Zimbabwe were 66 to 3 in the 11th, with the request rate swelling towards 11. Raza briefly stung him by throwing four sixes – all in the arc between the deep midwicket and the long wide . The streak even included a max slide on Rashid.

After hitting a run-a-ball 2, Rashid dropped a fairly straightforward hold at deep midwicket to reprieve Tadiwanashe Marumani on 3. Marunami added 27 to his tally before Mohammad Nabi had him skying a catch back. Rashid then dropped 17 points in an action-packed 15th that also contained two reprieves from Azmatullah Omarzai for Kaia.

Returning to the attack in the 18th, Rashid saw Kaia hoist him over the midwicket for four. Three balls later, Rashid unleashed a fizzy error that castled an advancing Raza. When Burl finished, the match was almost over for Zimbabwe.

It was Farooqi who ended the chase after Raza forged a 70-run partnership with Kaia. With a delicious cocktail of wide yorkers, stump yorkers and slower bouncers, Farooqi increased the asking rate, forcing Raza and Kaia to take undue risks against Rashid. Farooqi came away with numbers of 1 for 19 in his four overs. Could have been 2 for 19 eu Najibullah Zadran clung to a hold offered by Régis Chakabva in the 19th.

Earlier, Farooqi made the first breakthrough by pinning Wessley Madhevere in front with a slower cutter. Captain Nabi singled out Farooqi for particular praise during the post-match presentation, calling him a “game changer”. Farooqi’s Player of the Match award bolsters his T20 reputation: he’s only played 11 T20s so far, but already has gigs in the IPL, BPL and T10 league under his belt.

Nabi himself had made a significant contribution to Afghanistan’s victory, after going 22-43 unbeaten with 1 for 18 in two overs.

When Nabi was out at bat, Afghanistan were teetering at 88 for 4 in the 13th, with Darwish Rasooli also retiring injured in the 12th. Nabi had a slow start – he was on 7-for-8 at one point – but picked up the tempo to hit three sixes and a four on his next six balls to give Afghanistan’s innings the final momentum he needed.

Nabi hit six more in the final over, beaten by Tendai Chatara, to bring Afghanistan up 170 for 5. He hit a 70-run stand with Najibullah on just 40 balls. Najibullah raised his second consecutive half-century and seventh overall in T20Is. Thirty-eight of his 57s came against the spin.

Despite the early loss to Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Afghanistan were aggressive at the top, managing 51 power-play points. Hazratullah Zazai was responsible for 28 of these, giving a strike rate of 215.38.

Chatara and Luke Jongwe made inroads into the lineup before Nabi and Najibullah took center stage. Legspin-bowling all-rounder Burl was Zimbabwe’s most economical bowler, returning 1 for 15 from his three overs a day after claiming 3 for 14 in the last game. Zimbabwe, however, eventually slid to their fourth consecutive defeat, which put their preparation for next month’s T20 qualifier in some disarray.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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