By Mehluli Sibanda
Zimbabwe were clean swept 3-0 by Afghanistan in the three-match Twenty20 International cricket series after they were beaten in the third match by 47 runs at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates yesterday.
Afghanistan batted first and posted 183 runs for the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs, their highest contributor with the bat being man of the match Najibullah Zadran’s unbeaten 72 runs. Zimbabwe could only manage 136/5 in 20 overs. That score was largely due to the late contribution by Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl.
Raza top scored with an unbeaten 41 off 29 deliveries and Burl was also not out on 39 runs from 31 balls. The two put on an unbeaten 80 runs for the sixth wicket and Zimbabwe could have stood a chance had the two being brought up the order.
Loss of early wickets earlier on was Zimbabwe’s undoing. Tinashe Kamunhukamwe fell for one in the first over and while his opening partner Tarisai Musakanda slammed 30 runs off 28 balls, he could not maintain the momentumm also fell by the wayside.
Skipper Sean Williams and Milton Shumba went without contributing much to the team’s run chase while Richmond Mutumbami was out for a first ball duck. Raza and Burl batted really well but with the damage already done, the duo did well to bat through up to the 20th over.
The tour started off well for Zimbabwe as they won first Test by 10 wickets inside two days but the Afghans fought well to take the second five-day contest by six wickets. Zimbabwe had only beaten Afghanistan once in T20Is and the series result of the shorter version has not come as a surprise at all. The Zimbabwean players arrive home today and head straight into domestic action as they fine tune to face Pakistan in three T20Is as well as two Tests. The Sunday News