Zimbabwe cricket team gets their maiden victory in the ongoing tri-nation T20 series in the last match against Afghanistan on Friday at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.
Hamilton Masakadza himself scripted his fitting farewell from the International cricket when he smashed a 42 ball-71 to seal Zimbabwe’s seven-wicket victory.By virtue of this victory, Zimbabwe ended Afghans’ eight-match winning streak and also restored some pride, bowing out the tournament with a victory in four matches.
In a match that was just an academic interest following Zimbabwe’s elimination from the final race, Afghan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashed a 47 ball-61 to help the side amass 155-8 and it looked a winning score in a pitch that was getting slower.
Zimbabwe earlier lost three straight matches in the tournament, paving the way for Bangladesh-Afghanistan's final.
But Masakadza was determined to make his last match remarkable one. For one last time, he came up with all guns blazing to help the side overhaul the target with 156-3 in 19.3 overs.
Masakadza stitched two important partnership two take the side on the verge of victory-40 with Brendan Taylor for the opening stand and a match-winning 70-run partnership with Regis Chakabva for the second wicket before Dawlat Zadran got him, caught by Mohammad Nabi at long-on.
By then he struck four fours and five massive sixes. Taylor scored 19.Chakabva kept the runs flowing hitting 39 off 32 before being dismissed by Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Sean Williams remained unbeaten on 21 before pulling away one towards the fine leg for a single to seal the deal.
Earlier, Gurbaz gave Afghanistan the solid platform after his captain Rashid Khan opted to bat first.
But Zimbabwe came back strongly in the match half-way through innings with a flurry of wickets when it appeared that Afghans would end up scoring closer to 200.
Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai combined for an 83-run partnership in just 9.3 overs to indicate a big score.
Zazai scored 31 off 24 before Tinotenda Mutumbodzi had him caught by Richmond Mutumbami to give the side a much-needed breakthrough.
Mutumbodzi then bowled in a disciplined way to stifle the Afghans power-packed batting line up.
But Gurbaz continued his onslaught. It needed excellent bowling from Sean Williams to rattle his stump and subsequently curbed the aggression of the Afghans batsman.
Christopher Mpofu then sliced out the Afghans' middle order in a show of excellent bowling and finally ended with his career-best 4-30.
Afghanistan batsmen, however, didn’t help their cause by playing a forced shot when the pitch was getting slower considerably.
Shafiqullah Shafiq was the other notable scorer with 16 while debutant Fazal Niazai scored 12.
Apart from Mpofu’s four-for, Mutumbodzi ended with 2-18, also his career best bowling.
Afghanistan will take on Bangladesh tomorrow in the dress rehearsal of final which is on September 24 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.