One wicket condemns Zimbabwe to Afghanistan loss
Zimbabwe did all the hard work at the end of the 27th over as the drizzle was coming down and were leading by one run via the Duckworth-Lewis rule.
And then Rashd Khan trapped debutant Ryan Burl leg before and suddenly Afghanistan were leading by 13 runs. One ball later the heavens took the piss and players were called off.
No play was possible due to a wet square-leg and a few things we did not understand plus light and Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe again by in the first one day international at Harare Sports Club.
And yet it all looked dandy when the hosts restricted Afghanistan to 215 all out after 49.2 overs.
Debutant Richard Ngarava accounted for he dangerous Mohammad Shahzad(8) in his first over. Noor Ali Zadran (39) and Rahmat Shah (31) then put on a 67-run partnership before captain Graem Cremer removed the latter leg before.
Ali Zadran followed 4 overs later as he skied one which was collected by Tari Musakanda.
Asghar Tanikzai’s 50 off 57 balls pushed the score forward as wickets fell regularly around him.
There were two important moments after that. With the score on 169-7 Zimbabwe bowled a few loose deliveries and allowed some loose runs to be scored. Then some more poor bowling meant the 10th wicket partnership yielded 20 runs.
Add to that 12 wides and 2 no-balls plus three dropped catches and Zimbabwe will realise they should not have allowed the score to get close to 200.
That said Cremer got the most wickets with 3-46 off his 10 overs while Chris Mpofu returned figures of 3-56.
Zimbabwe then opened with the returning Solomon Mire and Peter Moor.
Mire was out first for 2. Moor looked in good nick before he failed to clear mid-off and was out for 18.
There as a fighting 23 run partnership between top scorer Craig Ervine(38) and Sikandar Raza (12) but in retrospect it was perhaps too circumspect as they went at just under 3 an over.
Burl joined Ervine and pushed the score forward. As the drizzle started at the beginning of the 27th over Ervine signaled to the debutant to get some runs as the Chevrons were behind on the Duckworth Lewis rule. They got the required runs at the end of that over.
Then Khan did the damage.
Cremer after the match said that team should never have been in that situation.
The headache that is opening partnership persists and bar Moor the inability of Zimbabwe’s batsmen to impose themselves on the bowlers.
That said, what was good to see was the energy in the field was brilliant. There is urgency. That is what you want to see.
The second of the five match series is on Sunday at the same venue.