Afghanistan v Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI, Sharjah December 29, 2015

Shahzad in the line of fire

Plays of the day from the second ODI between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in Sharjah

Eyes on the prize: Debutant Rokhan Barakzai holds on to a catch to secure his first ODI wicket © Chris Whiteoak

The correction of a mishap

Zimbabwe's batsmen had been very naughty on Christmas day. All they could manage was 82 and worse still, left more than a third of the 50 overs unused. They had been timid and uncertain against spin and that needed to change fast if they stood a chance on a slow Sharjah turner. Peter Moor showed Zimbabwe the way, and so invested was he in being aggressive that he cracked his bat by the fifth over after hitting all of his team's boundaries until that point.

The almost mishap

Rokhan Barakzai doesn't look too threatening as a left-arm spinner. But looks are often deceiving, aren't they? His pronounced round-arm action rarely allows for flight and the batsman can set himself up on the back foot and that was what Richmond Mutumbami did. He just didn't count on the ball stopping on the pitch and was so far into his shot that he popped a leading edge back to the bowler. Barakzai moved to his left but the ball popped again, right out of his hands. From the outside it seemed like a tragicomic cartoon - the nervous debutant watching his chance at a maiden ODI wicket slipping away from him. But really, he was just keeping his eyes on the ball to secure the rebound.

The painful mishap

Very few doubt Mohammad Shahzad's ability as a power hitter. A lot of that can be put down to his bulk, which can occasionally prove detrimental at the non-strikers' end. Noor Ali Zadran hammered a length ball down the ground with the best of his own might in the third over, but Shahzad was caught in the firing line, could not extricate himself quickly enough and took a shiner to the thigh before falling face-first onto the ground.

The premonition of a mishap

Afghanistan had been cruising the chase, until Elton Chigumbura brought himself on. An equation of 86 off 119 balls should have been straightforward but a couple of quick wickets brought captain Asghar Stanikzai out and he was definitely nervous. His first ball was dabbed into the covers and he had ran halfway down the pitch before realising his partner Shahzad had not moved at all. Afghanistan had just gift-wrapped a run-out to Zimbabwe, but a misfield at point meant the single was taken and Stanikzai lived to face another ball. Just one more though, because his opposite number Chigumbura bowled him.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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