Riding on the back of a sensational unbeaten century from Mohammad Shahzad, Afghanistan chased down 254 with four wickets in hand in the second One-Day International against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.
Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bat first. The openers Richmond Mutumbami (21) and Peter Moor (50) got Zimbabwe off to a great start by scoring 57 for naught in the powerplay.
Moor went on to complete his first ODI fifty in the 15th over, taking just 49 balls to get to the landmark.
However, in the next over, Moor was out stumped off Mohammad Nabi (2-49). Rokhan Barakzai (2-45) held a catch off his own bowling to dismiss Mutumbami.
Hamilton Masakadza (47) and Craig Ervine (73) recused Zimbabwe with a partnership of 98 runs for the third wicket.
In the 35th over, Ervine received a reprieve when the keeper missed a stumping chance. The partnership was broken in the 40th over when Nabi castled Hamilton to leave Zimbabwe at 172 for three.
Ervine reached a fifty which he complied off 80 deliveries. Despite runs coming at a quick pace, Zimbabwe lost Elton Chigumbura (13), Ervine, Malcolm Waller (0) and Sikandar Raza (13) in the space of four overs allowing Afghanistan to come back in the game.
Cameos from Luke Jongwe (13 not out) and Graeme Cremer (12 not out) helped Zimbabwe post 253 for seven in their 50 overs.
Dawlat Zadran (3-57) had three wickets to his name while Nabi and Barakzai picked two each.
Afghanistan adopted a carefully calculated approach in the chase as the openers brought up 40 runs in the first powerplay.
Shahzad (131 not out) and Noor Ali Zadran (31) shared an opening stand of 82 runs in 17.5 overs. Noor Ali holed out to long on off Raza (1-37), bringing Nabi (33) to the crease.
Shahzad completed his fifty with a six over long on. Nabi and Shahzad stepped the foot on the gas to bring up a fifty run stand in just 44 balls.
The duo added 87-runs for the second wicket scoring at over six runs an over. A confusion in the middle led to Nabi’s run out in the 32nd over.
From 169 for two, Afghanistan slipped to 198 for six needing 56 more runs to win. Thanks to a fantastic spell of bowling from Chigumbura (3-32).
However, Shehzad kept going strong, reaching his century off 110 deliveries, which included six fours and seven sixes.
He added an unbeaten 56-run stand for the seventh wicket with Mirwais Ashraf (26 not out) to take Afghanistan to a four-wicket victory. The win has also given them a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.
Shahzad was named the man of the match for his blistering century. The third ODI will be played in Sharjah on 2nd January. (Cricket World)