Zimbabwe fold in rain-hit chase

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In a series marked by extreme batting collapses it was perhaps appropriate that the decider witnessed a batting implosion by the hosts.

Chasing 161 to win in 22 overs after a long rain delay in Harare Zimbabwe slumped 54 all out to lose by 107 runs and hand the series to Afghanistan 3-2.

Earlier the tourists reached 253 for 9 in their fifty overs and Duckworth-Lewis and Stern’s method favoured them forcing Zimbabwe to chase a tricky 161 after the rain let up.

Afghanistan’s innings took the shape of an old-fashioned ODI, on a tough surface they dug in and worked hard for their runs with contributions coming all through the order.

Opener Noor Ali Zadran chipped in with 46 before Rahmat Shah hit 50 from number four and new IPL recruit Mohammad Nabi hit 48 from number 7.

Rashid Khan (18 off 17 balls) and Dawlat Zadran (14 off 6 balls) gave the tourists a good finish and ensured they had plenty to bowl at.

Christopher Mpofu was again the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers in what has been a good series for him as he took 3 for 46 from his nine overs.

Zimbabwe’s batsmen all struggled with only Ryan Burl (11) and skipper Graeme Cremer (14*) getting into double figures as the hosts fell in a heap.

Amir Hamza (3 for 20) took three of the first five wickets to fall as the top order struggled to score before Mohammad Nabi (3 for 14) and Rashid Khan (2 for 8) cleaned up the tail in no time.

Afghanistan have won their last three bilateral ODI series against Zimbabwe and all by the same margin of 3 games to 2.

They say it’s a batsman’s game but this series did not prove to be that favourable for those wielding the willow with Rahmat topping the runscorers with 145 runs at an average of just 29.

Mpofu claimed 12 wickets in five games at an average of 15.91 runs per scalp with a best of 3 for 24.