Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad has been suspended from his team's two remaining Group B matches in the World Cup Qualifier, after he was guilty of causing damage to a part of the ground during their two-run defeat to hosts Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
Shahzad was the second wicket to fall in Afghanistan's chase of 197, in the ninth over, after he had settled in with three boundaries. Upset with himself, Shahzad slammed his bat hard onto the adjacent pitch, leaving behind a noticeable divot as a result. He was fined 15 percent of his match fee and received one demerit point for his actions.
As this was Shahzad's second breach of the ICC's code of conduct within a two-year period - he was fined the whole of his match fee and handed three demerit points after a T20I against UAE in December 2016 - the accumulated four demerit points, as per the ICC's norms, translated into two suspension points.
The latest penalty comes two months into his return to the national squad, after he spent a year out serving a doping ban. Shahzad's suspension also leaves Afghanistan on shaky ground for the remainder of the group play. Having lost both their matches so far, Afghanistan are desperate to bounce back in upcoming matches against Hong Kong and Nepal to give themselves the best chance of advancing to the Super Sixes round and maintain hope of qualifying for next year's World Cup in England.
In separate incidents during the same match, Zimbabwe's Brendan Taylor and 16-year old Afghanistan offspinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman were also handed out penalties. Taylor was fined 15 percent of his match fee and received one demerit point for showing dissent when umpire C Shamsuddin withheld an lbw appeal against Dawlat Zadran late in the Afghanistan chase. Mujeeb was handed out a 50 percent fine and three demerit points for throwing the ball back at batsman Taylor off his own bowling during the first innings in what the umpires deemed a dangerous manner.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Nizakat Khan was fined 50 percent of his match fee and given three demerit points for making deliberate and inappropriate contact using his shoulder to barge into Scotland bowler Alasdair Evans while attempting a run.