So after a breathtaking victory, Zimbabwe stay alive in the series and make it 1-2! It will take some time for the hosts to let this victory soak in but they don't have time for it as the next game takes place in three day's time. And that too being a do-or-die contest for them in the series. The visitors on the other hand would be frustrated with their today's performance and will look to bounce back hard in the next game which takes place at Harare Sports Club on 24th February at 0930 local time (0730 GMT).
The Man of the Match award has been awarded to Tendai Chatara as well as Sean Williams. The former begin the proceedings with the ball and ended with the figures of 10-0-30-3! Whereas Sean Williams triggered the collapse by picking wickets of Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi and Amir Hamza in the end.
After a poor effort with the bat, the Chefrons were superb with the ball. They kept on picking wickets at regular intervals which proved to be the undoing of the visitors. Tendai Chatara started the proceedings as he bowled his full quota of 10 overs on trot in the start and scalped 3 wickets, giving away just 30 runs. And in the end it was Sean Williams and Chris Mpofu who scripted Zimbabwe's way to victory by picking up 3 wickets apiece in quick succession.
Then there was a twist in tale! Sean Williams and Chris Mpofu had other things in mind and started the collapse similar to the way their team collapsed in the first innings. Mpofu first sent Shenwari and Najibullah packing in back-to-back deliveries. Then pressure got better of Nabi while the remaining task proved too much for the tail. In first innings, Zimbabwe were restricted from 121/5 to 129 all out while Afghanistan bundled out from 121/5 to 126 all out. The last three runs scored in the first innings proved to be the difference in the end.
After losing 3 quick wickets, Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari calmed things down for the visitors and looked set on the path towards victory. After the skipper's departure Gulbadin Naib walked in and added 33 runs for 5th wicket before getting out to a rather loose shot. Still the visitors were the clear favourites as they needed just 23 runs with 5 wickets in hand. And with Shenwari and Nabi out in the middle it looked like a stroll in the park for the Afghans.
What a victory! Zimbabwe have pulled out a thriller! Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and today's match was one of the best example of it. With just 130 needed to win the match and the series, the visitors were the clear favourites. However, it wasn't to be. The hosts started in a great fashion as they got rid of Noor Ali in the second over itself and then also got the precious wicket of Shahzad as he looked to take the attack to them.
Sean Williams to Amir Hamza
OUT c Richard Ngarava b Sean Williams. Afghanistan have been bowled out.
Chris Mpofu to Fareed Ahmad
Chris Mpofu to Rashid Khan
OUT c Peter Moor b Chris Mpofu. Afghanistan have lost their ninth wicket.
Sean Williams to Mohammad Nabi
OUT b Sean Williams. Afghanistan have lost their eighth wicket.