Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe 3rd T20I Preview: Clean sweep on the cards as assured Afghanistan too good for Zimbabwe
If Afghanistan win this match, skipper Asghar Afghan will overtake MS Dhoni to become the captain with the most T20I victories.
Zimbabwe unsure of chasing tempo
Zimbabwe have had a massive advantage of winning the toss in both the first two T20Is. However, it is their inability to go at the optimum pace in chases which has led to their series defeat.
In the first T20I, faced with a target of 199, Zimbabwe decided to build a platform and played cautiously to begin with. As it turned out, the team was left with a bit too much to do at the end and could not amp up the scoring rate despite having wickets in hand.
As a result, when in the second T20I, they were set a target of 194, the team decided to go hard from the outset. The result was that opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe was dismissed for a golden duck.
Tarisai Musakanda looked good during his 15-ball stay at the crease when he scored 22 runs at a strike rate of 146 with the help of three boundaries. However, the high-risk approach did not serve Zimbabwe well as they were 5 down for 56.
A 50+ partnership between Richmond Mutumbami and Ryan Burl gave Zimbabwe some hope. Burl was the aggressor in the partnership and struck 40 off 29 balls, smashing one four and 3 sixes while going at a strike rate of 137.93.
Burl even took Rashid Khan for more than 20 in one over but ultimately played a shot too many as he was caught at mid wicket in an attempt to fetch a wide one from Rashid Khan. His dismissal put an end to Zimbabwe's hopes of winning the match. Rashid dismissed two Zimbabwe batsman Donald Tiripano and Brandon Mavuta in the same over to seal the game for Afghanistan.
The result of the first T20Is has meant that Zimbabwe have been left unsure of how to approach a chase in the proximity of 200. If Zimbabwe bat second again in the final match of the series, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza are expected to bat higher up the order and make use of their experience to ensure that they set a good platform while scoring at a fair clip at the same time.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, have been clinical in both the first two T20Is. While Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the star in the first T20I, smashing 87 off 25 deliveries, Asghar Afghan chipped in with 55 of 38 balls.
It was an all-round batting performance from Afghanistan in the second T20. After the early dismissal of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Usman Ghani was dismissed just one shy of a half-century and made his runs at a strike rate of 144.12.
Karim Janat struck a breezy half-century, batting at a strike rate of close to 140. Ultimately, it was the 15-ball 40 from all-rounder Mohammad Nabi which took the target away from Zimbabwe's reach. Nabi clubbed 2 fours and 4 sixes while batting at a strike rate of 266.67, taking leg spinner Brandon Mavuta for 3 sixes over long on in the 16th over.
Blessing Muzarabani picked up two wickets for Zimbabwe but was very expensive and conceded 44 runs from his 4 overs. Sean Williams, Ryan Burl and Richard Ngarava were quite economical.
ZIM likely to shuffle batting order
There is very little possibility of Zimbabwe pulling one back in the final match of the series. They will desperately want to do so though as captain Sean Williams said in the post match presentation, following their series defeat.
AFG look to hand opportunities
Having already won the series, Afghanistan will mull giving opportunities to the likes of Afsar Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Sharafuddin Ashraf and Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Here are the squads of both teams:
Afghanistan - Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Usman Ghani, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (c), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fareed Malik, Afsar Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Fazalhaq Farooqi
Zimbabwe - Tarisai Musakanda, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Sean Williams (c), Wesley Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Ryan Burl, Donald Tiripano, Brandon Mavuta, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Prince Masvaure, Milton Shumba, Regis Chakabva, Wellington Masakadza, Kevin Kasuza, Victor Nyauchi, Faraz Akram
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