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15 April 2024

Shahzad's blitz in 'favourite' Sharjah sinks Zimbabwe

By Cricket Correspondent and Agencies

Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad smashed the fourth highest score in Twenty20 international history on Sunday when he made 118 in his side's 81-run rout of Zimbabwe.

The 27-year-old opener carried his bat having already hit Afghanistan's first ever century in the format, reaching his hundred off 52 balls with eight fours and eight sixes.

By the end of the blitz, the opener had hit 10 boundaries and faced 67 balls in total to continue his impressive form in the UAE having already made 131 not out in the second one-day international against Zimbabwe two weeks ago.

Zimbabwe were eventually all out for 134 on Sunday with 11 balls to spare as Afghanistan swept the two-game series having won the first match by just five runs on Friday.

They had earlier claimed the ODI series 3-2 to follow their victory against the same opponents in Africa in October.

Shahzad's unbeaten 118 was one short of South Africa's Faf du Plessis's 119 against the West Indies in Johannesburg in January last year.

The highest ever score in T20 internationals is Australia's Aaron Finch's mammoth 156 against England in Southampton in 2013 while New Zealand's Brendon McCullum is second on the all-time list thanks to his 123 against Bangladesh in Pallekele in 2012.

"This is my favourite ground, Sharjah, and I like batting here," Shahzad told cricinfo.com.

"There is no plan. I want to hit every ball out of the boundary. I have got used to Zimbabwe's bowlers. I talked with the captain and we thought 150 would be enough."

Zimbabwe were always struggling in their reply, collapsing to 34-5 at one stage before Hamilton

Masakadza bludgeoned 63 off 44 balls with five sixes as he and Peter Moor put on 77 for the sixth wicket.

But once the big-hitting Masakadza was clean bowled by Rashid Khan in the 16th over, the Africans lost all hope.

"It is our fourth series win against them," said Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai.

"Phenomenal performance by the guys in the series. In next ten years, I can say Afghanistan will beat any side."

Both sides now head to Bangladesh - Afghanistan for the Asian Cup qualifiers in February while Zimbabwe tackle the hosts in a four-game T20 series next week.

"The way Shahzad batted was outstanding - we didn't have any answers," said Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura.

"The conditions will be similar in Bangladesh - we will have to make sure we start well in Bangladesh."

Brief scores:
Afghanistan 215-6 in 20 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 118 not out) v Zimbabwe 134 all out in 18.1 overs (Hamilton Masakadza 63, Peter Moor 35)

Result: Afghanistan won by 81 runs
Series: Afghanistan 2-0

Afghanistan powered by a magnificent unbeaten century from Mohammad Shahzad (118) blew away Zimbabwe by 81 runs to win the T20 series 2-0 on Sunday.

Chasing a mammoth target of 216, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 134 in 18.1 overs despite a valiant half century from Hamilton Masakadza (63) and Cremer (35).

Zimbabwe are bowled out for 134 in the 19th over to hand Afghanistan an 81-run win.

Afghanistan need one more wicket to win as Cremer departs. Zim 124-9, 17 overs.

Graeme Cremer c Ghani b Shirzad 3 (4b)

Jongwe does not last long. Zim 120-8, 16.2 overs.

Luke Jongwe c Stanikzai b Shirzad 5 (3b 1x4)

Rashid strikes to end a battling innings from Masakadza. Zim 114-7, 15.4 overs.

Hamilton Masakadza b Rashid Khan 63 (44b 2x4 5x6)

Moor departs after a fighting knock. Zim 111-6, 14.5 overs.

Peter Moor c Ghani b Zadran 35 (32b 2x4 2x6)

Masakadza completes his half century by slamming Dawlat out of the ground.

Naib goes for 17 with Moor hammering a boundary and six. Zim 76-5, 11 overs.

Moor clobbers a half tracker from Nabi into the stands. Zimb 46-5, 8 overs.

Zimbabwe's innings is in shambles as skipper Chigumbura is out for a duck. Zim 34-5, 5.3 overs.

Elton Chigumbura run out 0 (2b)

Nabi strikes beating the onrushing Raza in flight with Shahzad doing the rest. Zim 34-4, 5.1 overs.

Sikandar Raza st Shahzad b Nabi 1 (5b)

Big over for Zimbabwe as Masakadza smashes a six and boundary. Zim 34-3, 5 overs.

Raza averts the hat-trick ball from Hamza.

Left arm spinner Hamza is on a hat-trick as Waller is trapped leg before. Zim 18-3, 3.3 overs.

Malcolm Waller lbw b Amir Hamza 0 (1b) 

Hamza strikes with Shahzad whipping off the bails. Zim 18-2, 3.2 overs.

Richmond Mutumbami st Shahzad b Amir Hamza 1 (3b)

Chibhabha fails to promise from the let off with Nabi pouching the skier this time. Zim 8-1, 2.1 overs.

Chamu Chibhabha c Nabi b Dawlat Zadran 3 (6b)

Afghanistan innings

A sensational unbeaten century by Mohammad Shahzad (118) powered Afghanistan to 215-6 after being put into bat in the second T20 international at Sharjah on Sunday.

Shahzad's 67-ball blitzkrieg was studded with 10 fours and eight sixes as he wreaked carnage with his power-packed batting performance to take the game away single-handedly from Zimbabwe.

Former captain Nabi slams Chisoro inside out over extra cover for a six to bring up the 200 of the innings but is castled next ball. Afg 201-5, 18.5 overs.

Mohammad Nabi b Tiripano 26 (12b 2x4 2x6)

Nabi hammers a six off Tiripano while Cremer misjudges a catch on the boundary as everything seems to be going Afghanistan's way. Afg 181-4, 17 overs.

Shafiqullah smashes a six before being pouched at midwicket while the keeper drops a skier off Shahzad. Afg 154-4, 15 overs.

Shafiqullah c Moor b Chibhabha 8 (6b 0x4 1x6)

Zimbabwe get a breakthrough being caught at cover. Afg 145-3, 13.3 overs.

Karim Sadiq c Moor b Chisoro 12 (5b 2x4 0x6)

Shahzad completes his century off 51 balls by taking a single becoming the first batsman to score a T20 international in Sharjah.

Shahzad whacks a couple of sixes off Chibabha to move into the 90s. Afg 142-2, 13 overs.

Jongwe strikes as Stanikzai swings and misses. Afg 116-2, 11.4 overs.

Asghar Stanikzai b Jongwe 18 (12b 2x4 1x6)

Afghanistan's second fifty comes off just 19 balls with Shahzad hammers the Zimbabwe attack dealing mostly in sixes and boundaries. Afg 113-1, 11 overs.

Shahzad is really turning it on bludgeoning two more sixes off Raza this time, including off a free hit. Afg 93-1, 10 overs.

Stanikzai shows his aggressive intent by launching Cremer into the stands while Shahzad sends the ball sailing out of the stadium. Afg 76-1, 9 overs.

Shahzad is on fire slamming a half century off just 30 balls hammering a six and two consecutive boundaries off Chibhabha. Afg 62-1, 8 overs.

Cremer cleans up Ghani who is castled attempting to cut close to his body as Zimbabwe get the first breakthrough. Afg 43-1, 6.1 overs.

Usman Ghani b Cremer 5 (13b)

Shahzad has smashes five boundaries and a six in the Powerplay overs to give Afghanistan a flying start. Afg 43-0, 6 overs.

Shahzad slams the first six of the match off Chisoro to become the first player from an Associate nation to pass 1,000 runs in T20 internationals. Afg 10-0, 2 overs.

Zimbabwe win toss and choose to bowl in the second T20 international against Afghanistan at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Afghanistan won the first match on Friday by five runs.


Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Usman Ghani, Asghar Stanikzai, Karim Sadiq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Shafiqullah, Dawlat Zadran, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Sayed Shirzad

Zimbabwe: Sikandar Raza, CJ Chibhabha, H Masakadza, R Mutumbami, E Chigumbura, MN Waller, PJ Moor, LM Jongwe, AG Cremer, TS Chisoro, DT Tiripano