Zimbabwe v Afghanistan, 2nd ODI, Bulawayo July 20, 2014

Raza century sets up huge Zimbabwe win

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Zimbabwe 257 for 2 (Raza 141, Masakadza 93) beat Afghanistan 256 for 7 (Ghani 118, Raza 2-25) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sikandar Raza's maiden ODI century helped Zimbabwe crush Afghanistan by eight wickets and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series. Raza's blistering 133-ball 141 that was laced with seven sixes and 11 fours also completely overshadowed a landmark reached by Afghanistan's 17-year-old opener Usman Ghani, who also hit a maiden ton.

For the second match in a row, Zimbabwe opted to field but were set up a slightly difficult target of 257 compared to the first ODI. With no Vusi Sibanda, Raza opened the batting with Hamilton Masakadza and set the tone of the innings with a boundary of the first ball of the second over. He bettered it in the third over with consecutive fours of Shapoor Zadran's first two deliveries before ramping the scoring rate from the ninth over onwards. Zimbabwe had moved to 42 from the first eight but Raza smashed Dawlat Zadran for two sixes and a four in an over that leaked 21 runs. He slowed down a touch thereafter, reaching his half-century 54 balls.

Raza scored the next fifty off 45 balls to reach his maiden century in the 31st over. Masakadza, meanwhile, had also patiently added 83 runs off 93 balls to help the team motor to 192 without loss. Two boundaries in the next over from Raza took Zimbabwe past 200 - the first double-century opening-stand for Zimbabwe. By the time Masakadza was dismissed, seven short of his century, the stand had swelled to 224 - the best for any wicket for Zimbabwe. The home side continued to saunter and overhauled the target with more than six overs to spare, the only blip being the loss of Raza a ball before the win was achieved.

Earlier, Ghani had single-handedly shored up Afghanistan's innings with a mature innings. He received repeated support from the other batsmen but none lasted long enough with him to threaten Zimbabwe. Take out Ghani's 118 off 143 deliveries - the joint equal for the highest score by an Afghanistan batsman - and the highest individual score was Gulbadin Naib's 23. Raza was successful with the ball too, picking up two crucial wickets in his five-over spell.

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  • dummy4fb on July 22, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    well-done Afghanistan for 257/7 and congratulation Zim win and good luck Afghanistan, I hope Afghanistan play well and win these 2 matches

  • Nduru on July 21, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    Oh, by the way Kamal. I see my mistake. You did not say Ireland and Afghanistan are better. I think you are correct that they are capable of beating Zim, and of course Afghanistan might just do that this series. In fact, I think that Zim, Bangla, Ire, Afghanistan and Netherlands should form a second tier of test playing nations and play each other often. That would be much better than being told you are a test team and then none of the big boys ever wants to play you (for financial reasons). I think this second tier would be very competitive and good for cricket amongst the smaller nations. Perhaps there can be a promotion option if one team is consistently good, but as I said - its all about money for the big teams and they don't invite small teams.

  • Nduru on July 21, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    @Kamal, yes, indeed, Zimbabwe is not in the same position as the other full members. For a start, the big teams hardly ever play Zimbabwe or invite them to tour. We also have so little money that we struggle to play our domestic season, as you saw when the players were on strike for four months last year. Talented players are continually drifting away - we have lost Gary Ballance, Kyle Jarvis, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer and lots more - even Tatenda Taibu quite 5 years too early. We hardly ever play T20s - you associates play many more than we ever do because the teams in our league do not ever schedule matches with us. But despite this, we still raise competitive teams that can challenge on their day. Ireland have lots more money and their players can play in County cricket as locals. We do not have such a luxury. So, yes, we are not in the same position, we are actually in a worse position than associates because they at least get to play each other regularly.

  • dummy4fb on July 21, 2014, 9:11 GMT

    @ Nduru : ُThe evidence is the inability of Zim to qualify for the second stage of t twenty world cup... anyways When did I say Afghanistan or Ireland are better teams than Zim. but what I said was Zim,s current team is not in a situation as other full members are.. and I said Afghanistan and Ireland are capable to beat ZIM. Zim has a long history of cricket and Afg started cricket in 2000 .Afghanistan still has long way to go but even with current team they are quite capable to beat ZIM if they use their full potential... and we will see it in the coming two matches...

  • Nduru on July 21, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    @Kamal. I am not sure on what evidence you say that Zimbabwe is not as strong a team as Ireland or Afghanistan. We beat PAKISTAN in a TEST less than a year ago for goodness sake, and we just thumped Afghanistan twice, and will do so twice more regardless of whether we bat first or second. You associates play each other often and then get grand ideas in your heads about your strength because you beat Nepal or Hong Kong or Papua New Guinea. But Zimbabwe has a long tradition of cricket and this team has been playing together for the best part of a decade. They have the experience and talent to beat even a big side on their day, even though our administration is really bad. I am sure the boys look forward to walloping Afghanistan in the next two games as well!

  • MeijiMura on July 21, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    The equation for Afghanistan is simple. Win the toss and bowl. It is always much easier batting second in ODIs in Zimbabwe. For the team batting first the early morning conditions are always difficult to deal with and it takes the team batting first 20 overs before run-scoring becomes easier. If Afghanistan win the toss and bowl first, put Zimbabwe under pressure when the pitch is at its most difficult and the outfield is slower, then come out to bat in the sunshine in perfect batting conditions, a drier pitch and a quicker outfield then they could find they win rather than lose. Batting second in Zimbabwe in ODIs is an advantage of in excess of 50 runs an innings, the difference between winning and losing for evenly matched teams like these.

  • dummy4fb on July 21, 2014, 4:44 GMT

    @ TrickDaddy: You very well know that Zim at the time being is not as strong as other full members and strong associate teams like Afghanistan and Ireland are surely capable of beating the current Zim,s side.. Afghanistan team is going through a transition process, 5 of the players currently playing in national team are under19 players and 3 others are from A team..Any team going through this process will experience defeats... but do not forget that Zim is playing on their home ground which is quite comfortable for them to play on . and they will always suffer badly if they play away from home.. Also, Zim was lucky to win the toss twice and put Afghanistan into difficult batting conditions which had an important role in the win for Zim... it is not over yet..I am sure Afg will prove their potential in the coming two ODIS....

  • dummy4fb on July 21, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    Congrats team Zimbabwe. They are really deserving for this victory being a hard-working nation. Afghanistan were also tough opponent but experience for Zimbabwe worked. I ALSO expect AFGHANISTAN as an "Underdog" in next two matches. Zimbabwe side was more composed and more experienced than Afghani players. Sikandar Reza and Masakadza will be more dangerous in next match with sean williams and Chigumbura on lower numbers. I think if financial problems for team Zimbabwe are met, they can any defeat any side after five years including big 3. They have proved their talent in 2013 against Pakistan in an odi and a test match after 20 years.

  • tRICKKdADDY on July 21, 2014, 2:16 GMT

    Go the Zimbo! Well played Zim, really this was expected of them if they are to justify being a full member. However flat track or not, twice failing to ball out Afghan is a reflection of a very weak attack. When your openers get you 2 wickets a pierce is proof that the attack lacks penetration and a leader. Against SA this attack will be bashed ruthlessly so improvement is needed here. To the Afghan fans be humble never down talk the opposition but you will learn as time goes by what it is to be humble and this beating can only help in this regard.

  • MyDogMeows on July 20, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Congratulations for Zimbabwe for defending their status as a full member team. I was hoping to see Afghanistan sweep or at least win against Zimbabwe, but it is clear now that at least on the home ground Zimbabwe is much stronger than Afghanistan. I applaud them for taking this risk and congratulate them for winning.

    A hug congratulations also to Usman Ghani who scored Afghanistan's first century against a full member, while he is only 17 years old. This lad has got a bright future ahead of him! I think we will see Hashmatullah Shaidi shine much more during the four day matches.

    The best of luck to both teams in the upcoming games, but of course more to Afghanistan!

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