A great bowling performance by Victor Nyauchi and Muzarabani and a century in the first innings by skipper Sean Williams ensured Zimbabwe beat Afghanistan convincingly in the first match of Abu Dhabi Sunshine Test series and take a lead of 1-0 in the two-match series.
Having won the toss on Day- one, Skipper Asghar Afghan opted to bat first at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Afghanistan’s fifth match in the longest format. Afghan batsmen were up for surprise as Zimbabwean pace attack rattled the top-order sending debutant opening batsman Abdul Malik back to the pavilion without disturbing the scoreboard.
Senior batsman Rahmat Shah could not add much as he departed soon after while debutant Munir Ahmad followed suit with mere 12 runs. Opening batsman Ibrahim Zadran and wicket-keeper batsman Afsar Zazai were the only notable players scoring 37 and 31 runs respectively as Afghanistan were bundled out for 131 in their first innings. Blessing Muzarabani and Victor Nyauchi had a fruitful outing taking 4 and 3 wickets each.
In response, a captain’s knock from Sean Williams ensured Zimbabwe recovered from an early onslaught by Afghan bowlers to steer past their total and take a commendable lead. Williams scored his third century in Tests as he steered the Zimbabwean ship from a challenging 38/4 earlier. He was well supported by Sikandar Raza and Regis Chakabva in the middle as Zimbabwe were eventually bowled out for 250 in the first innings.
Coming out to bat in their second innings, Afghan batsmen could not alter their form as wickets fell continuously to a consistent performance from Zimbabwean bowlers. Ibrahim Zadran was the lone warrior for Afghanistan as he tried to go as deep as he could with the tail. He eventually fell for 76 later in Day two paving the way for Zimbabwe to clean-up the tail which they did eventually as Afghanistan were bowled out for 135 setting only 17 to win for the opposition. The Zimbabwean opening pair made a light work of the chase and gave their team their first win of the series.
The second Test of the Abu Dhabi Sunshine Test series is scheduled to be played from 10th to 14th March at the same venue.