Raza heroics go in vain, Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe in 1st T20I

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Sat, 11/06/2022
Afghanistan Men's team
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An excellent all-round performance by Sikandar Raza (45 in 31 balls, 4-0-16-0) went in vain as Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by six wickets and four balls in hand in the first T20I, at Harare Sports Club. Chasing 160, Afghanistan needed eight off the last over. Najibullah Zadran pushed the first ball, from Blessing Muzarabani, to long on before hoisting the next ball over square leg for six. Najibullah was named Player of the Match for his unbeaten 25-ball 44.

The chase was set up by Hazratullah Zazai (45 in 26 balls) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (33 in 36), who added 83 in 61 balls for the opening stand. But Ryan Burl (4-0-14-3) struck thrice in the same over, reducing Afghanistan to 86/3. Burl and Raza both choked up the runs, but some late onslaught from Najibullah and Mohammad Nabi (15* in 8) saw Afghanistan home.

Earlier, Zimbabwe reached 50/2 inside the Powerplay, largely due to some early hitting from Wessley Madhevere (32 in 24 balls), but Nijat Masood (2-39) struck twice in the ninth over to reduce them to 66/4. As Rashid Khan (4-0-21-1) took centrestage, Regis Chakabva (29 in 24) failed to get going, and Zimbabwe became 123/7 in the 17th over before Raza took them to 159/8.

Brief scores

Zimbabwe 159/8 in 20 overs (Sikandar Raza 45; Nijat Masood 3-39) lost to Afghanistan 160/4 in 19.2 overs (Hazratullah Zazai 45; Ryan Burl 3-14) by 6 wickets with 4 balls to spare. Player of the Match: Najibullah Zadran.