English Sports

#AFGvZIM Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by six wickets, two-Test series levelled at 1-1

And as Sean Williams and Asghar Afghan pose with the beautiful trophy to sign off a tied series, it’s time for us to say goodbye too. The T20Is start very soon – the first one is on March 17. We’ll see you then. On behalf of Thilak Ram, Chandan Duorah, Karthik Krishnaswamy, Firdose Moonda, Shashank Kishore and me Sreshth Shah, thanks for joining us.

Player of the Series award goes to Sean Williams after the presenter says that Amir Hamza, Ibrahim Zadran and Shahidi were some of the contenders. He says, “I thought it was a fantastic series. The first game, winning in two days, was remarkable. Coming into the second match, we were on the backfoot right away after conceding 545. I thought we missed out on winning the series by just 60 minutes. But congratulations to both teams. Yesterday, we thought we could’ve drawn the Test match. We thought of taking it by the hour, and try to get Donald to a hundred. It’s not a pitch you can score quick runs in. I think being the leader, things have changed for me. But I have a bunch of other leaders in the side. We’ve got some personnel changes for the T20Is, some interesting, new faces. That’s exciting for us. Hopefully some different wickets.”

Player of the Match award goes to Hashmatullah Shahidi, pipping Rashid’s 11-for. The commentators decided that his double-hundred deserved it more. He says, “It was tough after first Test. We were disappointed there. But thanks from the coaching staff, HD Ackerman, and Nawroz and captain for believing me. We had hard work before coming here. I want to congratulate my whole nation on this win. I just wanted to stay long after a disappointing first Test. I wanted to take responsibility as a senior player. Feeling very good about the first 200, it’s a big achievement for me. I hope it’s not the first and last one for me.”

3.30pm We’ll have the presentation soon. Stick around for reactions.

Iain Climie: “Afghanistan are great but they’d be giving their fans palpitations if the target was another 30 or 40 runs. Credit to Zimbabwe too for keeping going.”

Noori Tanha: “I Love Cricket”

3.22pm And the series ends 1-1, a fitting result for a quality series. Zimbabwe will probably be more disappointed, having come into the second Test with the lead. But a very poor batting performance in the first innings – especially given how dead the batting deck was – has cost them a first series win since 2004.

The teams bump fists, and the camera focuses on Rashid Khan, who took 11 wickets in 99.2 overs. A solid comeback having missed the first Test. Also makes you wonder if the series result would’ve been totally different had he played the first game. Don’t forget the other records in this match, most importantly, Afghanistan’s maiden double centurion in Hashmatullah Shahidi. Asghar Afghan’s 165 is now the second-highest score for the country. In a sort of fitting touch, Shahidi hit the winning runs in this match. Amir Hamza and Ibrahim Zadran were excellent across both matches too.

Plenty of positives for Zimbabwe too. On surfaces that have something for fast bowlers, Blessing Murazabani and Victor Nyauchi can be quite a handful. Sean Williams clocked two centuries in three innings. A couple of good batting performances from Sikandar Raza too.

Eventually, even if you supported either team or followed this series as a neutral, it was quite enjoyable. Very few people expected Zimbabwe to wrap up a win inside two days in the first Test. And then very few expected them to force Afghanistan to bat for a second time in this match. Some great individual performances to remember this series for.

Nasir Jamal* (rhb) 4 6 0 0 66.67 3 (5b) 4 (6b)
Hashmatullah Shahidi (lhb) 6 3 1 0 200.00 0 (0b) 6 (3b)
Blessing Muzarabani (rfm) 9.1 1 25 2 2.73 39 3 0 2.1 – 0 – 5 – 1
Ryan Burl (lb) 4 1 16 2 4.00 17 1 1 4 – 1 – 16 – 2
2 76 55* 38.00
5 353 200* 58.83
3 8 4/48 24.63
3 4 2/16 26.75
Partnership: 7 runs, 0.4 ov (RR: 10.5) • Last Bat: Rahmat Shah b Burl 58 (109m 76b 9×4 1×6) SR: 76.32 • FOW: 101/4 (25.3 ov)

Shahid Hashmi

Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by six wickets… two-Test series levelled at 1-1. #AFGvZIM

Mohandas Menon

Afghanistan has now won Test matches against…
– Ireland by 7 wickets at Dehradun on 18 Mar 2019
– Bangladesh by 224 runs at Chittagong on 9 Sep 2019
– Zimbabwe by 6 wickets at Abu Dhabi on 14 Mar 2021

Whatever happens these two teams have shown that they really want to play test cricket. No one at the ICC can look at this match and come to the conclusion that the likes of Ireland, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan should not be given more opportunities to play test matches.

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