The host nation Afghanistan won the first match of two match T20I series with ease against Zimbabwe, last night. Heroics of star players Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan ensured a victory for Afghan side but on other side Zimbabwe surrendered in the low-scoring affair. We may witness fully contrast high scoring game this time around. Second and Final T20I match between Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe scheduled to start at 7 PM Local | 8:30 PM IST on Tuesday, 6th February 2018.
Asghar Stanikzai led Afghanistan side has started the new year and new season with an easy win on Monday night. First the bowlers strike well and controlled Zimbabwe batters well for 120 runs in 20 overs. The spin magic Rashid Khan led the bowling unit with 3/19 and other spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf has picked 2 for 31 in 4 overs. Gulbadin Naib has bowled at 2.67 in his 3 overs spell and finished with 1 for 8 runs. Later in the night, Mohammad Nabi scored an unbeaten 40 runs to take the team home safely with handy contributions of Mohammad Shahzad, Sharafuddin and Shafiqullah. Mohammad Shahzad made his return to international cricket with a good start. He didn’t lose his touch even after facing one year ban. The explosive wicket keeper-batsman started his re-birth in international cricket with a quick 20 runs off 11 balls which includes a four and 2 sixes. There would be no surprises if he plays a very big innings tonight. Karim Sadiq got an opportunity to open the innings ahead of Usman Ghani, but Sadiq failed to score runs in that game. As he managed to score only 5 runs, now he has 50/50 chances to be in the XI for tonight clash. If he is not get a second chance, then Ghani will replaces him.
Skipper Stanikzai did a great job once again with his leadership skills. But, when it come to his personal performance, he managed to score only 11 runs in 15 balls in the T20 format. He should score runs quickly or else promote other batters to bat up in the order. Mohammad Nabi got a chance to bowl only one over last night and he picked 1 for 2 runs in that sole over. He shined with a bat and received the man of the match award for his contribution of 40 runs off 27 balls. He is ready to give another all-round performances for his team and no wonder if he win man of the match reward in a row. Sharafuddin Ashraf was promoted in the order ahead of Najibullah Zadran and Shafiqullah. But he utilized the opportunity and scored useful 18 runs with a bat. Earlier, he contributed with 2 wickets with his left-arm spin. He was slightly expensive but compensated that with those 2 wickets. It was a poor start for Najibullah Zadran in the new year. He had faced lot of struggles to cement his place in the XI last year and duck out in the first match, may worry him more.
Shafiqullah’s role in the team is finishing the innings in good note and he doing that job well too. Once again he will come to bat at lower middle-order in tonight’s game and his quick scoring technique will help the fantasy players too. Gulbadin Naib’s three overs were amazing and he bowled very well controlled spell to finish of with 1 for 8 runs in 3 overs. He was the hero when these two teams met in T20I series last time. We can expect another good performances from him on Tuesday night. The most trustable bowler in the squad, the trump card Rashid Khan picked 3 for 19 runs in 4 overs spell. The 19-years old, may do more damage to the opposition in today’s game. Aghanistan’s next big thing, the 16-years Mujeeb Zadran finished off with none for 25 in 4 overs. He didn’t pick any wicket last night, but we should not under estimate him with that one game. He might be a game changer for Afghan. There was a big surprise when Aftab Alam got a place in the XI ahead of the experienced Shapoor Zadran. Aftab managed to pick a wicket but he conceded 31 runs in 4 overs. Hamid Hasan got injured and he sidelined for at least 3 weeks. Shapoor Zadran may replaces Aftab Alam in the XI.
The omission of Craig Ervine caused the match in a big way for Zimbabwe in the first match on Monday night. Zimbabwe looked an unbalanced and surrendered to Afghanistan’s quality bowling attack in that game. As Zimbabweans won’t give up the series that easily, an interesting game in the offer for cricket fans tonight. Except for Solomon Mire in the top order and Malcolm Waller in lower middle-order, none of other batsman had shined with a bat in the first game. Skipper Graeme Cremer didn’t the bowling attack wisely when defending the target of 120. Zimbabwe needs to re-group in no time by correcting all their errors and should perform much better to give tough competition. The experienced Hamilton Masakadza has scored 18 runs at top of the order but he batted at strike-rate less than 80. He is the most experienced top order batsman in the squad and he knew how to hit hard in the shorter format. So, we can expect some good innings from him tonight. Solomon Mire did his job well by scoring 34 off 21 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes. He has to convert the good start into big scores in this match.
Former captain Brendan Taylor had a bad day in the middle. He took 3 catches behind the stumps but with a bat he unfortunately ran out for 3 runs. Taylor has a plenty of T20 experiences and he had played in lot of high pressure games, that would help him to play well in this do or die game. Sikandar Raza who had a fantastic run in both BPL and recent Bangladesh tri-series, had a poor day with the bat on Monday. He departed on the very second ball he faced and scored only a run. He is the key wicket-taker but he didn’t get an opportunity to bowl in the first game. If Zimbabwe uses Raza in a right manner, then he will win the matches for the team without a doubt. Ryan Burl was in the playing XI ahead of the experienced Craig Ervine. Burl had picked his maiden T20I wicket but managed to score only 8 runs with a bat. Chances are heavy for him to make a way for Ervine. In case, the management looks to keep Burl in the side, Peter Moor has a chance to make a way for Ervine. Moor had a poor series in Bangladesh and also lost his wicket for just 2 runs in the last game.
Lower middle-order looks good with Malcolm Waller. He batted nicely and scored 27 runs off 16 runs to take the team to 120 runs. Skipper Cremer had a poor day with both bat and bowl. He is a quick learner, that means we can expect a good comeback from him in this crucial game. Zimbabwe used the same pace attack of Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani. Chatara and Jarvis had shared a wicket each while Muzarabani picked two. But Muzarabani was bit expensive compare to others and as Brian Vitori awaiting to make his return, Muzarabani’s chances slightly shade away.
KEY PLAYERS :
- Asghar Stanikzai
- Mohammad Nabi
- Rashid Khan
- Gulbadin Naib
- Najibullah Zadran
- Sharafuddin Ashraf
- Mujeeb Zadran
Wild Card Pick – Mohammad Shahzad
- Hamilton Masakadza
- Solomon Mire
- Brendan Taylor
- Malcolm Waller
- Graeme Cremer
- Kyle Jarvis
- Tendai Chatara
Wild Card Pick – Sikandar Raza
POSSIBLE LINEUPS :
1. Mohammad Shahzad, 2. Karim Sadiq / Usman Ghani, 3. Asghar Stanikzai, 4. Mohammad Nabi, 5. Shafiqullah, 6. Gulbadin Naib, 7. Najibullah Zadran, 8. Sharafuddin Ashraf, 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Mujeeb Zadran, 11. Aftab Alam / Shapoor Zadran.
1. Hamilton Masakadza, 2. Solomon Mire, 3. Craig Ervine / Peter Moor, 4. Brendan Taylor, 5. Sikandar Raza, 6. Ryan Burl, 7. Malcolm Waller, 8. Graeme Cremer, 9. Kyle Jarvis, 10. Brian Vitori / Blessing Muzarabani, 11. Tendai Chatara.