Afghanistan got their tour of Zimbabwe off to a good start with a win over Zimbabwe A in Bulawayo yesterday.
Put into bat by Zimbabwe A captain Regis Chakabva, Afghanistan lost Noor Ali Zadran with no score on the board in the first over, and Asghar Stanikzai soon afterwards with the score on 22. The third wicket pairing of Usman Ghani and Hashmatullah Shaidi then put on 100.
That partnership ended when Shaidi was out for 34, whilst Ghani went on to score 79 before being bowled by Tatenda Manatsa. There was little else to the Afghan innings though, and they reached 209 before losing their last wicket from the final ball of their 50 overs.
Zimbabwe A found going hard in the early stages of their reply, struggling against the pace of Afghan opening bowlers Shapoor and Dawlat Zadran. After reaching just 24 in the first ten overs, a change of bowling saw the home side lose three wickets for just two runs, two of those wickets being taken by debutant Sharafuddin Ashraf.
The run chase didn't really get going until Tinotenda Mutombodzi and Luke Jongwe put on 86 for the sixth wicket, the partnership ending when Mutombodzi was trapped lbw by Shapoor Zadran. Jongwe went on to score 50 before he was out.
After that sixth wicket, Sharafuddin Ashraf polished off the tail with another four wickets to end his debut with sensational figures of 6-29. His bowling helped his team win the game by 16 runs. The sides will meet again on Tuesday before the ODI series begins on Friday.
Zimbabwe A lost to Afghanistan by 16 runs
Bulawayo Athletic Club, 13 July
Afghanistan 209 (50 overs, Usman Ghani 79)
Zimbabwe A 193 (48.3 overs, T Mutombodzi 60, L Jongwe 50, Sharafuddin Adhraf 6-29)