Shahzad smashes records as Afghans clinch T20 series
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Mohammad Shahzad, breaking several records, smacked a breezy unbeaten ton on Sunday when Afghanistan thrashed Zimbabwe in the two-match T20 series at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Pakistan’s Geo Super TV channel reported.
Afghanistan pipped past the opposition by five runs in Friday’s first duel of fluctuating fortunes at the same venue in front of a huge holiday crowd. A large number of Afghan expats in the UAE celebrated the team’s triumph, which came days after their 3-2 success in the ODI series.
Shahzad’s magnificent century in the T20 encounter, the first by any national cricketer, lifted Afghanistan to a record 215-run total in the shortened format of the game. He surpassed Usman Ghani’s previous highest score of 69 against Oman in November 2015.
With his 118 off 67 balls, the highest individual score by any player from an Associate Nation in T20, the 27 years old etched his name in the record books. Amidst thunderous applause, he crossed the milestone of 100 in 14 overs.
His exquisite sweeps, slogs cuts, thrusts and sixes sent the spectators into a frenzy and the opponents into desperation. Much to the anguish of the bowling side, the ruthless batsmen had two lives once dropped at long-on and then by wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami.
Only four other Afghan batsmen, skipper Asghar Stanikzai (18), Mohammad Nabi (22), Gulbadin Naib (13) and Karim Sadiq (12), could make double-digit scores. The second highest contribution to Afghanistan’s colossal total came in form of extras
Set an imposing target of 216, the Zimbabweans were restricted to 134 in the penultimate over, as Dawlat Zadran, Amir Hamza and Syed Sherzad took two wickets apiece. Nabi and Rashid Khan claimed one scalp each, leaving the rivals 82 runs adrift.
Apart from Hamilton Masakadza (63), Zimbabwe’s top order collapsed like a house of cards, dipping to 34 for five in the sixth over. Mutumbami, Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller fell victims to their misjudgments. Elton Chigumbura’s run-out dealt another blow to the Test-playing nation.
Peter Moor (35) also exhibited some resistance, but he rapidly lost partners before being caught by Osman Ghani off Dawlat Zadran. Sherzad and Zadran wrapped up the tail without any problem.
But it was Shahzad who carried the day. He became the second batsman from an Associate Nation after Scotland's Richie Berrington to hit a century in a Twenty20. He emerged as the fourth highest run-scorer, carried his bat, complete the sixth fastest ton and score more than 1,000 runs in Twenty20.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Usman Ghani, Asghar Stanikzai, Karim Sadiq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Shafiqullah, Sayed Shirzad, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Amir Hamza
Zimbabwe: Peter Moor, Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha, Richmond Mutumbami, Malcolm Waller, Sikandar Raza, Elton Chigumbura(captain), Luke Jongwe, Graeme Cremer, Tendai Chisoro, Donald Tiripano.
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