Rashid, Asghar & Prolific Shahidi level the series for Afghanistan
An 11-wicket haul for Rashid Khan and record batting performances from Skipper Asghar Afghan and Hashmatullah Shahidi helped Afghanistan level the Abu Dhabi Sunshine Test Series at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in the last hour of the second match.
The match was a record-runner for the home side as Hashmatullah Shahidi became the first Afghan double-centurion, Skipper Asghar became the first one to score 150 for Afghanistan while Rashid Khan ended with bowling the most number of overs this century so far.
Coming from a thumping defeat in the first Test within two days, Skipper Asghar Afghan decided to bat first in a friendly surface at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. The cards had totally changed this time for Afghanistan as they put on a huge total of 545/4 before declaring in the first innings, scoring Afghanistan’s first score past the 500 mark in the format. Hashmatullah Shahidi led the honors with becoming the country’s first double-centurion in the format in the brief Test career so far. Skipper Asghar Afghan also made history becoming the first Afghan batsman to cross the 150 mark in the format after Rahmat Shah had scored the first Ton in Dehradun against Ireland in 2019.
Zimbabwe started off well in their first innings as openers Kevin Kasuza and Prince Masvaura provided them with a 91-run stand. However, as the Rashid Factor started to work, Zimbabwe lost their track and lost wickets at regular intervals with no batsman contributing much later except a gutsy knock from Sikandar Raza who scored 85 before being sent back by Rashid. Zimbabwe were soon bundled out for 287, thereby falling short of avoiding the follow-on as they trailed by 258 at the end of their first innings.
Coming out to bat at the second innings, things seemed bleak and the match seemed to end soon for the Zimbabweans as they lost quick wickets struggling hugely at one point being 142/7 and destined for an innings loss. However, a captain’s knock from an in-form Sean Williams and a resilient support from Donald Tiripano ensured Zimbabwe gave a strong challenge with a tough fight against the bowling strength of Rashid and Hamza. Williams and Tiripano put on 187 for the eighth wicket frustrating the Afghan bowlers and edging the match closer to a draw.
However, Rashid was finally successful in getting Tiripano out for 95 ending the partnership and paving the way for Afghanistan to take-back the control of the match. The Zimbabwean tail could no longer pose further challenge as the visitors set Afghanistan a target of 108 to chase in the final remaining two sessions of the contest.
Rahmat Shah’s half-century and Ibrahim’s sufficient support ensured Afghanistan chased the target – Albeit with a slight stumble – to win the match and level the series 1-1.
Hashamtullah Shahidi bagged the Player of the match award while Zimbabwean skipper Sean Williams was declared the player of the series for his tremendous leadership with the bat in hand.
The tour will continue as both sides will face each other in the Abu Dhabi Sunshine T20I Series starting from 17th of this month at the same venue.