Afghanistan have qualified for the Super 10s on the World T20 tournament after defeating Zimbabwe by 59 runs in Nagpur.
Afghanistan were put into bat and at one stage were reduced to 63-4, but a 98 run partnership for the fifth wicket between Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammed Nabi who made an impressive half century got the Afghans to a very big score of 186. In response Zimbabwe never really got going and lost wickets consistently to lose by quite a big margin.
Afghanistan are through to the Super 10s
The toss was won by the Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai who choose to bat first in a knockout game to see who would go through to the Super 10 stage looking to put the pressure on the Zimbabweans by scoring a big first innings total.
The Afghanistan batsmen got off to a solid start until the fifth over when Mohammed Shahzad who had got off to a blistering start, went for one to many shots and was out for 40(23) of the bowling off-spinner Sean Williams. The wicket brought and end a decent partnership of forty-nine runs which looked like a decent platform for a good score.
The Zimbabweans though, after the wicket of Shahzad started to put the squeeze on the Afghan batsmen and took three quick wickets. Stanikzai for 0(2), Gulbadin Naib for 7(7) and Noor Ali 10(14) all fell to Tinashe Panyangara to leave the Afghanistan team 63-4 from eight overs.
Shenwari and Nabi build a massive partnership to get Afghanistan to a big score
A brilliant fifth wicket partnership, though, between Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammed Nabi of 98 runs held the innings together. Shenwari was finally out to end the impressive partnership for 43(37) of the bowling of Donald Tiripano leaving the score at 161-4 in the nineteenth over.
In the same over as the wicket of Shenwari, Nabi brought up his first half-century in T20s for Afghanistan off thirty balls. Nabi's superb innings was finally ended in the final over when he was run out for 52(32).
The Afghans finally ended their innings on 186-6, thanks in large to a record partnership for the fifth wicket for Afghanistan. Zimbabwe required 187 runs to go through to the Super 10 stage and to achieve that they would need to produce a record run chase for T20s at Nagpur.
Zimbabwe lost too many wickets at the start of their innings
In reply to Afghanistan's big total, Zimbabwe lost an early wicket during the run chase when captain Hamilton Masakadza was out for 11(7) bowled by Hamid Hassan. The power play finished without any other wickets falling, but in first over after it, the second wicket fell when Vusi Sibanda was out for 13(21) off the bowling of leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
Zimbabwe lost three more quick wickets, firstly Richmond Mutumbami was out for 10(12) of the bowling of Nabi who just couldn't be kept out of the action. The second wicket that fell was that of Malcolm Waller for 7(10) of the bowling of Shenwari. The third and most crucial wicket for the Afghans was that of in-form Sean Williams for 13(16) who was stumped off the bowling of Rashid. The Zimbabweans had been reduced to 65-5 in the twelve over of their reply.
A bit of resistance started to happen from the Zimbabwe batsmen, but just as a partnership was building the big wicket of Elton Chigumbura fell for 10(10) off the bowling of the very impressive leg-spinner Rashid.
Two more quick wickets fell for Zimbabwe as the Afghans were buzzing about the field. The first wicket to fall was Sikander Raza for 15(17) off the bowling of Hassan. The second wicket was a comical run out as Tiripano who made 2(4) failed to ground his bat. Zimbabwe was therefore reduced to 99-8 in the seventeenth over.
Afghanistan defeat Zimbabwe by 59 runs
Zimbabwe lost their last two wickets before the end to be bowled out for 127 to see Afghanistan win the game by 59 runs. The win means that Afghanistan go through to the Super 10 stage which gets underway on Tuesday.