Afghanistan survived a middle-order batting collapse to claim a four-wicket win over Zimbabwe in Sharjah on Tuesday and take a 2-0 lead in the five-match one-day international series.
Wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad held his nerve as wickets tumbled around him, scoring an unbeaten 131 — the highest ODI score by an Afghan batsman — to help the non-Test playing nation chase down a target of 254 with 14 balls to spare.
Afghanistan were cruising at 169-1, but the run out of Mohammad Nabi triggered an alarming collapse that saw them lose five wickets for just 29 runs.
However, an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 56 between Shahzad and Mirwais Ashraf (26 not out) saw them over the line as Afghanistan bid to follow up a 3-2 win in the ODI series in Zimbabwe in October.
“The ball didn’t come onto the bat, so the plan was to bat till the end. Two consecutive wins against a Test team is a proud moment for us,” Shahzad, who carried his bat in his record-breaking innings, told cricinfo.com.
Zimbabwe, who were skittled out for just 82 in the first ODI on Friday, posted a far more competitive total this time although it still fell short.
The tourists reached 253-7 from their alloted 50 overs with half-centuries from Craig Ervine (73) and opener Peter Moor (50), while Afghan seamer Dawlat Zadran took 3 for 57.
Zimbabwe 253-7 in 50 overs (Craig Ervine 73, Peter Moor 50; Dawlat Zadran 3-57) v Afghanistan 254-6 in 47.4 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 131 not out; Elton Chigumbura 3-32)