After being outplayed in Sunday's second ODI, Afghanistan bounced back with a battling victory in the third ODI today in Bulawayo.
Afghanistan won the toss this time and chose to put Zimbabwe in to bat. Sikandar Raza - a centurion in the second ODI - was the first man dismissed, getting out for 11 from the first ball of the ninth over.
Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor then put on 109 for the second wicket before Masakadza was out for 84. Taylor followed him back to the dressing room soon afterwards for 53. Sean Williams also contributed with 49, and whilst there wasn't any other significant contribution, Zimbabwe did manage to score a competitive 261-8 from their 50 overs.
Afghanistan set off quickly in reply, with Javed Ahmadi and Usman Ghani putting on 83 for the opening wicket in 13.2 overs before Ghani was out for 43. Noor Ali Zadran was dismissed for a duck soon afterwards, with Ahmadi the next man out having scored 56.
The middle order held it together, with Samiullah Shenwari scoring a patient 41. Captain Mohammad Nabi then manoeuvred his team into a position where they needed a challenging 61 from the last five overs.
Fifteen runs were taken from the 46th over, but the real turning point came in the 47th. The over started with Nabi hitting two sixes to take his score to 41, but he was run out - unfairly, he felt - coming back for a second run from the third ball of the over.
Dawlat Zadran then came to the crease, and after blocking the fourth ball of the over, he hit two huge sixes to bring up 25 runs from the over, swinging the game the way of the visitors, who then needed 21 from the last three.
Only six runs were taken from the 47th over, and when just two came from the first five balls of the 48th, Afghan hopes were fading. But Dawlat did it again and hit his third six to leave Afghanistan needing seven from the last over.
Shapoor Zadran ran two from the first ball of that last over, and got Dawlat back on strike by taking a quick single from the next ball. Dawlat then played out a dot ball before finishing the game off with his fourth six to secure the two wicket win for Afghanistan.
Afghanistan have now beaten both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in ODIs this year, and they will hope for another win in Thursday's ODI to level the series.
Zimbabwe lost to Afghanistan by 2 wickets
Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo, 22 July
Zimbabwe 261-8 (50 overs, H Masakadza 84, B Taylor 53, S Williams 49)
Afghanistan 264-8 (49.4 overs, Javed Ahmadi 56, Usman Ghani 43, Mohammad Nabi 42)