Rahmanullah Gurbaz plays a shot against Zimbabwe during their first T20 match in Abu Dhabi.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashed a stunning 87, and Rashid Khan took a three-wicket haul to help Afghanistan register a 48-run win in the opening T20I against Zimbabwe in Abu Dhabi.
Batting first, Afghanistan posted a fighting total of 198/5 and restricted Zimbabwe to a 150/7.
Credit goes to the opening pair of Gurbaz and Karim Janat, who started belting from the first over and did not let the momentum slip even for a moment.
They were 66/0 at the end of the Powerplay and looked well on course for a massive total. Gurbaz, especially, was in explosive form and soon got to his third half-century in the format in just 26 balls.
Zimbabwe finally broke the 80-run opening stand soon after Gurbaz's fifty when Richard Ngarava dismissed Janat for 26.
The next batsman in, Asghar Afgan, did not take a lot of time to settle and along with Gurbaz went after the Zimbabwe bowlers with intent.
The pair slapped Donald Tiripano for two sixes and a four in his third over as the bowler leaked 19 runs off it.
The duo shared a 74-run second-wicket stand before Gurbaz fell victim to Ryan Burl. The young Afghanistan batsman departed on a well-made 45-ball 87.
Afghan then continued in the same vein and got his half-century in the final over.
Despite Zimbabwe pulling things back in the latter overs, Afghanistan managed to post a formidable 198/5.
In reply, Zimbabwe got off to a steady start, slowly picking up momentum.
They lost their first opener Tarisai Musakanda in the fifth over at 38.
Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Sean Williams then looked to rebuild but could only add 45 runs for the second wicket.
The visitors kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Kamunhukamwe was the only batsman, who went past 40 runs.
The Afghanistan bowlers kept things tight and as the required run rate crept up, Zimbabwe began making mistakes.
Rashid removed Kamunhukamwe on 44 and also picked up wickets of Richmond Mutumbami (15) and Wesley Madhevere (2). He finished with figures of 3/28.
Fareed Ahmad and Karim Janat picked up two wickets each. Zimbabwe could only manage 150/7 in their 20 overs.
Gurbaz was awarded the Player of the Match for his 45-ball 87, which was studded with six fours and seven sixes.
Skipper Sean Williams smashed an unbeaten 106 shared a century partnership for the eighth wicket with Donald Tiripano (63 ) helped Zimbabwe avert an innings defeat against Afghanistan and take the second Test into the fifth day at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Saturday.
Afghanistan were facing an innings defeat at 81-7 but opener Ibrahim Zadran fought hard during his 76 - his second half-century - and added 48 for the eighth wicket with Amir Hamza who remained 21 not out.
Paceman Blessing Muzarabani took four wickets while skipper Sean Williams hit an unbeaten half-century to help Zimbabwe take lead on the opening day of the first Test against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
A historic double hundred from Hashmatullah Shahidi (200 not out) and captain Asghar Afghan's (164) put Afghanistan comfortably in the driver's seat on Day 2 of their second Test against Zimbabwe at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Thursday.
The inaugural Gulf Youth Sport Expo, organised in partnership with Dubai Sports Council, will bring together all corners of the youth sports industry on September 17 for a day of presentations, panels, networking, and development.
The UAE’s Rashid Al Mulla says he is confident of extending one of the longest winning sequences in competitive international water sport in Italy at the weekend.
The Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, highlight of the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend at Newbury Racecourse on Friday and Saturday, has attracted 17 high-class two-year-olds at the five-day confirmation stage.