On the point with Aubrey Kamba
SOMETIMES I start to wonder if I am not just wandering with this loyalty and support that I have for sports in this country.
The lack of conviction from most of our senior teams from different disciplines leaves a lot to be desired.
The past couple of weeks the Zimbabwe national team was locking horns with the Afghanistan national team at the Harare Sports Club, the presumed home of cricket in the nation.
What came out of it left all fans trying to pick up their jaws from the ground. If I am to ask anyone on the street what they know about Afghanistan, I am sure to be told that it is a war-torn nation with bombs and gunfire all over. If I am to ask the Zimbabwe cricket boys what they know of Afghanistan, I am sure I will get a clap from them.
Zimbabwe and Afghanistan went into the last match of the five-match series deadlocked at two-all, with Zimbabwe having had to come from behind to draw. On the final day that mattered the most, it seemed different for the home team. Afghanistan bowlers put a better unified front to roll Zimbabwe over for 54, helping the visitors seal a 3-2 series win with a 106-run D/L victory in the final ODI in Harare.
The visitors took the bat first and gave good start thanks to opener, Noor Ali Zadran’s 49-ball 46, even as Zimbabwe took wickets early on. Noor Ali eventually fell at the end of the 15th over, a wicket that put the brakes on Afghanistan’s momentum as captain, AsgharStanikzai and Rahmat Shah tried to steady the ship from 85 for three.
The two put on 39 off 64 balls, which was followed by a fifth-wicket stand of 35 between Shah and Samiullah Shenwari. After Rahmat reached his 50, both Shenwari and he (Rahmat) were run-out as Afghanistan found themselves at 172 for six at the 40-over mark.
All-rounder, Mohammad Nabi then batted with the lower order, hitting four fours and a six in his 48 off 40 balls. Dawlat Zadran hit 14 off six balls to lift them to 253 for nine. Medium-pacer, Chris Mpofu finished with figures of three for 46, while the spin duo of Graeme Cremer and Sean Williams kept things tight and conceded a combined 74 in 20 overs.
Zimbabwe’s response was delayed by rain and a wet outfield, leaving them with a revised target of 161 off 22 overs. They suffered an early blow, losing Peter Moor in the second over. Three balls later, left-arm spinner Amir Hamza removed Solomon Mire, before returning two more wickets off four balls in his next over to reduce Zimbabwe to 13 for four.
There was to be no recovery, with only two batsmen getting into double-figures, as Nabi and Rashid Khan – who were both picked up by the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the IPL auction earlier this week – took combined figures of five for 22. Rahmat was named man-of-the-match for his 50.
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