Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe in first ODI: Records broken
Afghanistan thrashed Zimbabwe by 60 runs in the first ODI in Harare. The likes of Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmat Shah racked up crunch knocks for the visitors. That, in turn, set the foundation for a competitive total (276/5). For Zimbabwe, right-arm quick Blessing Muzarabani claimed four wickets. Batting-wise, Sikandar Raza (67) stood tall but it wasn't enough as Zimbabwe folded for 216.
Batting first, Afghanistan succumbed to 38/2 in 10.5 overs. However, a valiant stand from Rahmat and Hashmatullah brought them back into power. The duo scored runs in tandem. Later, Rashid Khan's high-scoring cameo (17-ball 39*) set a 277-run target for the hosts. Muzarabani dazzled for the hosts. Zimbabwe looked promising till the halfway mark but kept losing wickets to eventually surrender the chase.
Rahmat was dropped in his 40s, something he capitalized on to rack up 94 off 120 deliveries. It was his 19th ODI fifty and sixth versus Zimbabwe. He clobbered seven fours and three sixes in the course of his innings. He has raced to 2,847 runs in 83 ODIs at 37.46. Against Zimbabwe, Rahmat now averages 50.16 having amassed 602 runs in 13 matches.
Shahidi showed intent right from the start. He kept sneaking singles and twos and later dealt in boundaries post the 39th over mark. He slammed his 13th fifty in ODIs and his first versus Zimbabwe. His 104-ball 88 was studded with 13 fours. He has now raced to 1,432 runs in ODIs at 34.09. Versus Zimbabwe, Shahidi now holds 215 runs at 26.87.
Muzarabani, who returned to international cricket post IPL, stunned Afghanistan with a ferocious exhibition in Harare. The right-armer's pace and bounce got him figures of 4/52 in nine overs. As per ESPNcricinfo, it was his third four-fer and fourth-best figures overall in this format. He has now raced to 43 wickets in 31 matches. He averages 30.60 and enjoys an economy of 5.27.
Hashmatullah and Rahmat's 181-run stand for the third wicket powered the visitors to a 270-plus total. As per ESPNcricinfo, it is Afghanistan's second-highest partnership for the third wicket and fourth-highest for any wicket.
Mohammad Nabi's spin potency trumped Zimbabwe's top and middle-order. The off-spinner finished with figures of 4/34. It was his fourth four-fer in the 50-overs. He has now raced to 138 wickets in ODIs at 32.55.
Innocent Kaia (39) and Ervine (30) fared well, but it was Raza who stood out for the hosts. The veteran struck a four off Rashid to bring up his 20th ODI fifty and fourth against Afghanistan. He slammed 67 off 78 deliveries (six fours, one six). He has now raced to 3,153 runs in 112 ODIs. Versus Afghanistan, Raza has 687 runs at 36.15.
Rashid was at his regular best in the concluded outing. The leggie scalped 2/39 including the crucial wicket of Raza. He maintained an economy of 3.90. With that, he now has 153 wickets in 81 ODIs at an awe-striking average of 18.69.