Rain hands Afghanistan series opener

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Rain halted proceedings in the opening ODI between Zimbabwe and Afghanistan in Harare with the hosts 12 runs short of the Duckworth-Lewis par score when the match was abandoned.

Afghanistan had earlier posted a modest but defendable total of 215 all out in conditions that gave the bowlers plenty to work with.

The tourists got off to a flying start courtesy of big hitting wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad (8) who struck two fours in his brief stay at the crease before top-edging debutant Richard Ngarava to third man in the second over.

Rahmat Shah (31) and opener Noor Ali Zadran put on 67 for the second wicket with Afghanistan chugging along nicely.

That was until Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer bagged the first of his three wickets having Shah caught by Tarisai Musakanda running back from his station at point.

Noor Ali was next to go with his patient knock of 39 ended by Cremer who trapped the opener leg before with a quicker one.

Skipper Asghar Stanikzai was then joined by Hashmatullah Shahidi for a decent stand of 59 before the latter was run out by Christopher Mpofu for 21.

The fall of Stanikzai for exactly fifty, trying to slog Sikandar Raza over midwicket, initiated a collapse that saw Afghanistan slip from 158 for 4 in the 40th over to 215 all out with four balls of the innings going unused.

Cremer ended as the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers with figures of 3 for 46 while Tendai Chatara bagged an economical return of 2 for 17 from his 6.2 overs.

In response Zimbabwe never really found any rhythm in their innings with wickets falling at regular intervals.

Only Debutant Ryan Burl and Craig Ervine could get past twenty for the hosts, the match was delicately poised when rain began to fall in Harare with Zimbabwe having just lost Burl (28) to leave them 99/4.

Ervine was stranded on 38 not out by the weather and Zimbabwe may feel the rain robbed them of a win with a fair amount of batting still to come.

The wickets were spread evenly among four bowlers but Gulbadin Naib’s return of 1 for 12 left him as the pick of the bowlers.

Afghanistan won by 12 runs on the D/L method and take a 1-0 series lead in the five match series.