Afghanistan have gone up 2-0 in their five match ODI series against Zimbabwe after beating the Africans by 4 wickets in Sharjah yesterday thanks to a fine innings from Mohammad Shahzad.
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura won the toss and chose to bat first, and the Zimbabwean innings got off to a good start with Peter Moor and Richmond Mutumbami putting on 71 for the opening wicket before Moor was stumped by Mohammad Shahzad shortly after bringing up his fifty.
Craig Ervine was the top Zimbabwean scorer with 73, and he shared in a 98 run partnership for the third wicket with Hamilton Masakadza, who scored 47 himself. The final total for Zimbabwe was 253-7 from their 50 overs, a much improved display from Friday's first ODI. Dawlat Zadran was the pick of the Afghan bowlers with 3-57.
The Afghan reply was dominated by Mohammad Shahzad, who has made probably the comeback of the year thanks to his displays since being dropped for the World Cup. The innings started with Shahzad and Noor Ali Zadran putting on 82 for the first wicket, Zadran scoring 31.
Mohammad Nabi scored 33 before being run out after a second wicket partnership of 87 with Shahzad. Zimbabwe swung the game back their way though as Afghanistan lost a few quick wickets, going from 179-2 to 198-6 inside five overs.
This wasn't the Afghanistan - or the Mohammad Shahzad - of old though, and there was no further collapse. Shahzad and Mirwais Ashraf took the Afghans home with an unbroken 56 run partnership for the seventh wicket. Shahzad finished unbeaten on 131 from 133 balls as Afghanistan completed their four wicket win. It was the highest ODI score by an Afghan player.
The sides will meet again at Sharjah on Saturday for the third ODI with Afghanistan looking to secure another series win over Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by 4 wickets
Sharjah Cricket Stadium, 29 December
Zimbabwe 253-7 (50 overs, C Ervine 73, P Moor 50, H Masakadza 47, Dawlat Zadran 3-57)
Afghanistan 254-6 (47.4 overs, Mohammad Shahzad 131*)