Mirwais Ashraf six sets up Afghanistan win
Afghanistan 105 (Chatara 5-31) and 321 (Zadran 99, Chinouya 4-92) beat Zimbabwe A 226 (Vermeulen 107, Ashraf 6-35) and 165 (Jongwe 58, Fareed 5-54, Ahmadzai 5-58) by 35 runs
Afghanistan's tour to Zimbabwe just got better. After squaring the ODI series 2-2 with Zimbabwe, the team prevailed in the first of the two four-day matches against Zimbabwe A. Mirwais Ashraf ran through the home side in Harare, picking up six wickets for 35 runs to set up another important win in the developmental stage of Afghanistan cricket.
The match was poised for a thrilling finish on the fourth morning. Zimbabwe needed 54 runs to win, Afghanistan needed four wickets. Zimbabwe had their hopes on Luke Jongwe, the top-scorer in first innings. The momentum, though, had swung Afghanistan's way late on the third day when Ashraf had dismissed the centurion Mark Vermeulen and Richmond Mutumbami.
It took only 12 balls for Afghanistan to impart the first blow as Yamin Ahmadzai had John Nyumbu caught behind for 1. The result was then almost sealed three overs later when Ashraf picked up the wickets of Tendai Chatara and Michael Chinouya off consecutive deliveries. With only the company of No. 11, Jongwe hogged most of the strike but could add only 10 runs more before being bowled by Ahmadzai. Zimbabwe lost their last six wickets for 34 runs, with the last four surviving less than eight overs on the fourth morning.
The second match of the series will be played August 2 to 5 in Harare.