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Naib steers Afghanistan to series victory with a thrilling two-wicket win

Naib steers Afghanistan to series victory with a thrilling two-wicket win
Amir Hamza registered figures of 41 for three for Afghanistan in the final ODI against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.
©Christopher Whiteoak

Afghanistan 254-8 (Naib 82no) beat
Zimbabwe 248 (Masakadza 110) by two wickets
Fifth One-Day International in Sharjah

Gulbadin Naib scored an unbeaten 82 to help Afghanistan chase down 249 in the fifth and final One-Day International against Zimbabwe in Sharjah to win the series 3-2.

Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat first. Amir Hamza (3-41) dismissed Chamu Chibhabha (1) lbw in the third over.

Peter Moor (42) and Hamilton Masakadza (110) got together to rebuild the innings with a 101-run stand for the second wicket.

Masakadza brought up his 31st ODI fifty in 43 balls. Eight runs short of his fifty, Moor was caught at mid-off against Mirwais Ashraf (1-28).

Along with Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami (40) added 65-runs for the third wicket. Afghanistan dried up the runs in the next five overs and were rewarded with the wicket of Mutumbami.

Elton Chigumbura (3) was trapped plumb in front by Mohammad Nabi (2-23). Between overs 31 and 40, Zimbabwe scored just 24 runs.

Masakadza and Sikandar Raza (29) effected a turnaround by posting a 44-run stand in just 6.1 overs. Masakadza brought up his first ODI hundred since October 2009.

Despite capitulating and losing six wickets in the final ten overs, Zimbabwe managed to add 71 before being bowled out for 248.

Hamza picked three wickets while Dawlat Zadran (2-71), Rashid Khan (2-59) and Nabi picked two apiece with Ashraf had one scalp.

Afghanistan got off to a terrific start by scoring 44 runs in the first seven overs.

Luke Jongwe (3-50) castled Mohammad Shahzad (25) in the ninth over. Jongwe returned to dismiss Nawroz Mangal (2) caught behind in the 11th over and followed it up with the wicket of Noor Ali Zadran (30) in the 13th.

Nabi (26) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (32) prevented a collapse with a 55-run stand coming in 13 overs. At the half-way mark, Afghanistan needed 131 runs to win the series decider.

Zimbabwe had other plans as Nabi and Shahidi fell in successive overs to leave Afghanistan struggling at 121 for five.

Ashgar Stanikzai (8) succumbed to the scoreboard pressure and was caught behind. Naib (82 not out) came to Afghanistan’s rescue with an aggressive knock.

Naib added 85 runs with Khan (31) in just 13.1 overs. With a six over deep mid-wicket, Naib completed his fifty.

Afghanistan were cruising towards victory as Naib and Khan took 16 runs off the 46th over from Neville Madziva (2-61).

However, the 24-year-old brought Zimbabwe right back into the game with a double strike by dismissing Khan and Ashraf (0) in his very next over.

With 10 runs needed from the final over, Naib struck a boundary and a six to seal a thrilling two-wicket series clinching victory.

Jongwe had three victims while Madziva and Raza shared four wickets equally. Naib was awarded the man of the while Mohammad Shahzad was picked as the man of the series.

© Cricket World 2016