It was a flop show by Zimbabwe on the day when it mattered most for them. For, Afghanistan continued its dominance to record its fifth straight win over it in a T20 international and more importantly made it to the Super 10s from Group B of the ICC World Twenty20. It was done via an emphatic, 59-run victory at the VCA Stadium here on Saturday. > Afghanistan skipper Stanikzai's comments
> Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Afghanistan joins England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies in the Group B for the main draw.
The wily legspinner >Rashid Khan was the star performer with the ball, returning with an impressive analysis of 4-0-11-3 even as medium-pacer Hamid Hassan picked two wickets.
Zimbabwe was never in the hunt, chasing 187 for victory. The dismissal of the big-hitting captain Hamilton Masakadza (11) was perhaps symbolic of the lacklustre batting – he completely missed a full-length ball from medium-pacer Hamid Hassan to be bowled. Soon, Rashid Khan ensured there was no breathing space out there in the middle with a superb spell.
To the delight of its coach and former Pakistan great Inzamam-ul-Haq, Afghanistan ensured the opposition had no chance to come back into the game with a disciplined bowling performance.
Earlier, opener Mohammad Shahzad’s belligerence (40, 23b, 7 x 4, 1 x 6) and the flamboyance of No. 6 >Mohammad Nabi (52, 32b, 4 x 4, 2 x 6) helped Afghanistan post a challenging score of 186 for six in 20 overs. Lusty hitting from Shahzad ensured a blazing start for the team as he treated both pace and spin with equal contempt.
But, left-arm spinner Sean Williams, after being hit for a six by Shahzad, induced a reverse sweep straight to the point fielder in the fifth over with the score on 49.
Later, medium-pacer Tinashe Panyangara picked three quick wickets – he forced Afghan captain Asghar Stanikzai (0) to pull to the fielder in the deep, had Gulbadin Nabi (7) drag one on to the stumps and dismissed Noor Ali Zadran (10) cheaply.
Afghanistan looked in trouble at 63 for four in eight overs before a 98-run stand for the fifth wicket in 64 balls between >Samiullah Shenwari (43, 37 b, 4 x 4, 1 x6) and the 31-year-old Nabi, who hit his maiden T20 international half-century in his 41st match, pushed Zimbabwe on the backfoot.
Zimbabwe paid dearly when wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami, who had a forgetful match, missed an easy stumping chance, with Nabi on 20, off left-arm spinner Wellington Masakadza. As the innings progressed, Zimbabwean bowling lacked discipline, evident by their conceding 17 wides and four no-balls.