With an heroics of star players Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, the hosts Afghanistan sealed the shorter format series comfortably. As T20I series was over, attention shifts to five match one-day international series which starts on Friday. This will be an opportunity for Zimbabwe to prepare well ahead of World Cup Qualifiers. The first ODI of this entertaining series between Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe schedule to start at 2 PM Local | 3:30 PM IST on Friday, 9th February 2018.
Captain Asghar Stanikzai and men gave their full efforts and won two match T20I series with clean sweep. Now, they are ready to show their dominance in 50-overs format. There were lot of good performances in those shorter format series, but the highlight was Mohammad Nabi’s all-round performances. The experienced all-rounder won twin man of the match awards for his scintillating performances. Mohammad Shahzad returned to cricket after served one year of ban and he already started to give some contributions with both bat and gloves works. Teen spin magic duo Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran did their part so well and created momentum for their team in both matches. As change in format, there are some changes in Afghanistan squad as well. The ODI specialists Rahmat Shah, Javed Ahmadi, Ihsanullah Janat, Nasir Jamal are back to squad along with pacer Dawlat Zadran.
As Karim Sadiq is not in the squad, Mohammad Shahzad will open the innings with new partner. Ihsanullah and Ahmadi opened the innings for Afghanistan in their last ODI series against Ireland. Among those two openers, Javed Ahmadi did a decent job in against Ireland and that will help him to open the innings in this series too. Shahzad had a decent starts in both T20 matches but he failed to score more than 20 runs in both innings. This will be his chance to play a big knocks with his explosive batting at top of the order. Rahmat Shah is the regular no. 3 in the ODIs and he always use to play good knocks in the format. Rahmat just need 9 more runs to reach the feat of 1000 ODI runs. Skipper Stanikzai had a poor series against Ireland where he scored only 19 runs in three ODI innings. He played a good cameo in the last T20I match two days ago, hopefully he will come back to form in this 50-overs series. Nasir Jamal had played all three matches against Ireland and scored 53, 25 and 18 runs respectively. He is expected to keep the place in the XI and in need to score runs at better strike-rate. All-rounder Mohammad Nabi shined with back-to-back 40+ runs knocks earlier this week and he also picked a wicket each in both of those matches. After those all-round shows, Nabi is definitely back in form and he will play an important role with both bat and bowl.
There will be a debate for one place in the middle-order between Najibullah Zadran and Shafiqullah. Najibullah’s last ODI appearance was in February 2017. But, he was one of the regular player in the side and a valuable batter too. As Shafiqullah departed for duck thrice in his last 4 international appearances, chances are high for Najibullah to back in ODI XI. The experienced all rounder Samiullah Shenwari was rested for Ireland series in December. As he is back in the squad, Nasir Jamal’s place in jeopardy right now. The trump card Rashid Khan shown all-round performances in the series against Ireland and as his tremendous form continues, he will be the biggest threat for any opponents. Mujeeb Zadran, 16-years old off-spinner grabbed 7 wickets in 3 matches against Ireland and he also took 2 wickets in the last T20 match on Tuesday. He will accompany Rashid very well in spin Department. As the spin attack is the main weapon, pacers either Dawlat Zadran or Shapoor Zadran will get a place in the XI. Based on form and experiences, Dawlat has a bright chance to play this match.
There were plenty of errors from Zimbabweans which caused then whitewash in the T20I series couple of days ago. They paid the price for the omission of Craig Ervine in those T20 matches. As format change, Graeme Cremer and men are expected to come with better improvements in all departments of the game. The experienced Hamilton Mazakadza had a good opening partnerships with Solomon Mire in the recent ODI tri-series in Bangladesh. All-rounder Solomon Mire didn’t score a half-century in recent times, but he used to contribute with decent starts in that tri-series. He should to play long innings to cement his place in the XI. After scored 73 runs against Sri Lanka, Masakadza managed to score 25 runs in next two ODI innings. He is the most valuable top order batsman in Zimbabwe squad and he has so much responsibilities on his shoulders right now.
Craig Ervine had played so many match winning knocks for the team. But with that one bad series in Bangladesh, he was omitted from T20I lineup against Afghanistan on this tour. Zimbabwe must need him to win the matches against the strong Afghan side, hopefully he will return to the XI on Friday. Former Captain Brendan Taylor had played two impressive knocks in a tri-series in Bangladesh, but he managed to score only 18 runs in 2 T20Is against Afghan on this tour. He will take care of wicket-keeper’s duty along with batting at no. 4. Ryan Burl who had an average T20 series, has a chance to miss this opening match of ODI series. All-rounder Sikandar Raza is the star performer of Zimbabwe in recent times. He shown his all around skills in Bangladesh and also scored quick 40 in the last T20I on Tuesday. He is the key performer and definitely needs to be in every fantasy team.
Malcolm Waller strengthens the batting power in lower middle-order. He didn’t score a half-century in last 3-4 months, but he use to play handy cameos in crucial times. If Zimbabwe continue to hanging on with Ryan Burl, then Peter Moor will make a way for Ervine. Skipper Graeme Cremer is the key aspect with his leg-spin bowling. He bowled well on Tuesday to claim 2 for 20 in 4 overs. He has a key role to play in this ODI series. Pace trio Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis and Blessing Muzarabani had played all matches in tri-series and also in T20I series against Afghanistan. Kyle Jarvis and Chatara continued to perform well with decent economical spells and wickets. But Muzarabani’s inexperience is the problem in the pace attack right now. He claimed 2 wickets each in the T20I series but was very expensive in both of those matches. As Tendai Chisoro and Brian Vitori awaiting for their chances, either one of them may get into XI for Muzarabani.
KEY FANTASY PICKS :
- Mohammad Shahzad
- Asghar Stanikzai
- Rahmat Shah
- Mohammad Nabi
- Mujeeb Zadran
- Gulbadin Naib
- Dawlat Zadran
Must Pick – Rashid Khan
- Hamilton Masakadza
- Solomon Mire
- Craig Ervine
- Brendon Taylor
- Greame Cremer
- Tendai Chatara
- Kyle Jarvis
Must Pick – Sikandar Raza
POSSIBLE LINEUPS :
1. Mohammad Shahzad, 2. Javed Ahmadi, 3. Rahmat Shah, 4. Asghar Stanikzai, 5. Nasir Jamal / Samiullah Shenwari, 6. Mohammad Nabi, 7. Najibullah Zadran / Shafiqullah, 8. Gulbadin Naib / Sharafuddin Ashraf, 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Mujeeb Zadran, 11. Dawlat Zadran.
1. Hamilton Masakadza, 2. Solomon Mire, 3. Craig Ervine, 4. Brendan Taylor, 5. Sikandar Raza, 6. Ryan Burl / Peter Moor, 7. Malcolm Waller, 8. Graeme Cremer, 9. Kyle Jarvis, 10. Brian Vitori / Blessing Muzarabani, 11. Tendai Chatara.