Record-breaking Mohammad Shahzad inspires Afghanistan to huge victory against Zimbabwe; Win T20I series 2-0
After clinching the five-match ODI series 3-2 against Zimbabwe, Afghanistan have now won the T20I series 2-0 after beating Zimbabwe by runs. Mohammad Shahzad was the hero for Afghanistan as he became the first batsman from his nation to score a T20I century.
Zimbabwe, who won the toss, elected to field first which might have been their first mistake. Although Afghanistan did not get to the best of starts as they only scored 43 in 6 overs, Usman Ghani's dismissal in the seventh over was a blessing in disguise for the Associate Nation as Shahzad began to cut loose with his captain, Asghar Stanikzai at the other end.
In an innings of sheer power hitting, Shahzad became the first Afghanistani batsman to score a century in T20Is as he remained unbeaten on 118 from just 67 balls. His phenomenal innings included ten fours and eight sixes, making up nearly three-fourth of the runs he scored.
Few of the sixes that Shahzad hit went out of the stadium while some others rested on the roof of the stands. There were even a couple of sixes that Shahzad was not happy about as he had mistimed them.
Mohammad Nabi was the second-highest scorer for Afghanistan with 22 runs. Shahzad scored more than half of his team's score of 215. The 27-year-old's century was also the fourth highest score in T20Is – only behind Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum and Faf du Plessis.
Shahzad's century, that came off just 52 balls, was also the sixth fastest T20I century. He is only the second player from an Associate Nation to score a century in T20Is, after Richie Berrington of Scotland.
The wicketkeeper-batsman reached another landmark as he became the first batsman from Afghanistan to reach 1000 runs in T20Is. Before this match, the highest ever T20I score by an Afghan batsman was the 69 made by Ghani against Oman in November 2015.
For Zimbabwe, none of the bowlers really had a response to Shahzad's power-hitting as they were hit all over the park. Chamu Chibhabha conceded 56 runs in just four overs. The pick of their bowlers was Tendai Chisoro, who finished with figures of 1/25 in four overs.
In reply, Zimbabwe got off to a terrible start as they were down to 34/5 in 5.3 overs. However, a 77-run partnership between Hamilton Masakadza and Peter Moor gave some respectability to Zimbabwe's chase.
Zimbabwe lost their last five wickets for just 23 runs as Afghanistan won by 81 runs. Masakadza was the top-scorer for Zimbabwe with 44-ball 63. Only two other batsmen – Peter Moor and Tendai Chisoro – reached double figures.
Almost every Afghan bowler did well with Dawlat Zadran, Amir Hamza and Sayed Shirzad picking up two wickets each. Shahzad was involved even in the bowling innings as he made two stumpings and was involved in a run-out.
In the first T20I, Afghanistan had beaten Zimbabwe by five runs after having put up 187 runs on the board.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 215/6, 20 overs (Shahzad 118*; Chisoro 1/25) beat Zimbabwe 134/10, 18.1 overs (Masakadza 63, Moor 35; Hamza 2/15, Dawlat Zadran 2/21) by 81 runs.
Man of the match: Mohammad Shahzad
Man of the series: Mohammad Shahzad