Ghani, Sharafuddin help Afghanistan close win


Afghanistan 209 (Ghani 79, Chinouya 2-30) beat Zimbabwe A (Mutombodzi 60, Sharafuddin 6-29) by 16 runs

A HALF-CENTURY from the opener Usman Ghani, followed by a six-wicket haul from the left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf helped Afghanistan edge past Zimbabwe A by 16 runs in Bulawayo yesterday.

After being put in to bat, Ghani, who was selected for the upcoming ODI series between the two teams, helped Afghanistan recover from the early losses of Noor Ali Zadran and Asghar Stanikzai by combining with Hashmatullah Shaidi for a third-wicket association which yielded 100 runs.

Shaidi fell for 34 in the 31st over, but Ghani made his way to 79, striking six fours and three sixes in the process. Incisive bowling from Zimbabwe A’s bowlers, however, kept the run-rate to just above four an over, and despite a late acceleration from Shafiqullah (24) and Mirwais Ashraf (19), Afghanistan were bowled out for 209.

Zimbabwe A’s chase, though, was hampered by early blows from Sharafuddin, and the the team soon stumbled to 90 for 5. Tinotenda Mutombodzi (60) and Luke Jongwe (50) both scored fifties to lead a mini-recovery, but Sharafuddin once again struck with three quick wickets, as Zimbabwe A fell from 176 for 5 to 193 all out. Sharafuddin eventually finished with 6 for 29, while Mirwais accounted for two scalps.

The two teams will play a second tour game at the same venue tomorrow ahead of the four-match ODI series.

— Cricinfo