Afghanistan 135 for 0 (Shahzad 75*, Ihsanullah 51*) beat Zimbabwe 134 (Ervine 54*, Mujeeb 5-50) by 10 wickets
SHARJAH — Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs led Afghanistan to a series-clinching 10-wicket win over Zimbabwe, with one match still left to play.
The win confirmed Afghanistan would end the series at number 10 in the International Cricket Council one-day international (ODI) rankings, a place above Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan have now won four of the five ODI series between these two sides, the other ending in a 2-2 draw.
Zimbabwe chose to bat first and were immediately pushed onto the back foot by Mujeeb’s mystery spin.
Opening the bowling, as usual, he sent back Solomon Mire and Hamilton Masakadza — both openers bowled — in his first spell, leaving Zimbabwe 15 for 2.
Brendan Taylor counterattacked, hitting two sixes in one Mujeeb over and rushing to 30 at over a run a ball before falling to Sharafuddin Ashraf’s left-arm spin.
Either side of his dismissal, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan also struck key blows to reduce the visitors to 74 for 5.
Craig Ervine kept fighting at one end, but no one stayed with him long enough as Afghanistan’s spinners kept making regular incisions.
Mujeeb returned to the attack in the 28th over to send back Graeme Cremer and Kyle Jarvis off successive balls, the latter bowled through the gate by a perfectly pitched offbreak.
Eventually, a last-wicket stand of 31 between Ervine and Blessing Muzarabani – who made a 17-ball duck – took Zimbabwe to 134.
Ervine ended up unbeaten on 54 off 73 balls, having struck six fours and a six. All 10 Zimbabwean wickets fell to spin. Their innings only lasted 38 overs.
This meant there would be a dinner break just under an hour into Afghanistan’s chase.
By that point, they had already motored to 75 for no loss in 12 overs, with Mohammad Shahzad leading the charge with a 40-ball half-century and Ihsanullah going to the break on 17 off 31 balls.
Post-dinner, the roles were almost reversed. Shahzad added 24 to his score off 33 balls, while Ihsanullah clattered 34 off 22, bringing up his half-century with the winning boundary off Ryan Burl in the 22nd over of the chase