HARARE – Afghanistan gunned down hosts Zimbabwe A by 22 runs in the third unofficial ODI to wrap up the series with an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series yesterday.
The visitors’ 21-year-old seamer Nawaz Khan was the star of the show as he grabbed three wickets in the last over for just two runs to finish the match with five wickets for 51 runs in 10 overs.
Khan struck when the hosts needed 23 runs to win from six balls with four wickets in hand.
His heroics overshadowed local batsman Innocent Kaia’s maiden List A hundred that came from a patient 154 deliveries and achieved on the first ball of the 48th over.
The 24-year-old right hander was unable to add to his tally after he was run out the next ball.
Ryan Burl played a complimentary innings for his 90-ball 70 runs before he was caught by Nasir Khan off Zahir Khan.
Zimbabwe A captain PJ Moor won the toss and elected to field with seamer Tendai Chatara making an instant impact as he grabbed two quick wickets.
The first one on the fifth ball of the opening over while the second came inside 2,2 overs — both being caught by Ryan Murray to leave the visitors reeling on 3 for two wickets.
Top order batsman Younas Abmadzai wrestled the innings in his team’s favour with a boundary-feasted 119-ball 104 runs.
His knock included six boundaries and four maximums before he was bowled out by pace bowler Neville Madziva in the 45th over with the visitors sitting pretty on 194-4.
The visitors’ captain Shafiqullah Shafiq also feasted on Zimbabwean bowlers scoring three boundaries and eight sixes in his unbeaten 70 runs from 23 balls batting at number six while Khaibar Omar was also unbeaten on 54 runs while batting at number five as Afghanistan totalled 279/4 in their allotted 50 overs.
Just like in their batting innings where they lost early wickets, the host also suffered early setback losing opener Brian Chari for three runs after 3,1 overs, number three batsman Tarisai Musakanda for five runs in 4,4 and skipper Moor for two runs in the seventh over before Kaia went on an innings rebuilding mission with his maiden century that went in vain following the defeat.
The fourth match will be at the same venue on Friday and the series will wind up with the fifth and final encounter on Sunday.