Afghanistan overcame Zimbabwe 3-2 to register a historic ODI series victory, and break into the ICC top 10 rankings in one-day internationals. Here’s a look at the top performers in the series.
Mohammad Shahzad: The Afghanistan batsman was among the most consistent batsman in the series with 237 runs from five matches at an average of just under 60, and an excellent strike rate of 92.5. Shahzad blasted an unbeaten 131 in the second one-dayer, and followed it up with scores of 31, 45 and 25 in the subsequent games. The man, who will soon turn 38, once again demonstrated how crucial he is to the team’s cause.
Gulbadin Naib: Naib only played one match during the series, but made the most significant impression of all – smashing an unbeaten 82 from 68 balls with three fours and as many as six sixes as Afghanistan chased down 249 to win the final ODI, and thus clinch the series 3-2. Afghanistan were in trouble during the chase as they lost three wickets for 66. But, Naib ensured that Afghanistan stayed in the hunt, and saw the team through by batting till the very end of the match.
Hamilton Masakadza: The experienced Zimbabwe batsman was the top run getter in the series with 266 runs from four matches at an average of 66.50 with one hundred and one fifty. His 110 from 111 balls in the final ODI went in vain as Gulbadin Naib snatched the game away. Masakadza though lived up to his name with consistent scores of 47, 83 and 26 apart from the century in the final match. Of course, he could have done will better support from the other batters in the team.
Amir Hamza: The left-arm spinner was brilliant with the ball for Afghanistan. He was the leading wicket-taker in the series with 11 wickets from five games at an average of 15.6, an economy rate of 3.6 and a strike rate of 26. Hamza’s best of 4 for 17 came in the first one-dayer. In subsequent games, he returned with figures of 2/35, 2/31 and 3/41. He went wicketless only in the second ODI.
Dawlat Zadran: The right arm medium pacer produced a fine performance for his side, claiming 10 wickets at an average of 12.60, an economy rate of 4.5 and an excellent strike rate of 16.7. Zadran’s best spell of 3 for 54 came in the penultimate game. He claimed 3 for 57, 2 for 25 and 2 for 71 in the other matches, after going wicketless in the opening game.
Luke Jongwe: The Zimbabwean fast bowler ended with 10 wickets at an average of 12.6, and a strike rate of 27. His economy rate was just under 5. Jongwe finished with spectacular figures of 5 for 6 in the third ODI. He finished off the series with 2 for 22 and 3 for 50. One for the future.
--By A Cricket Analyst