Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent
Afghanistan 193 for 5 (Janat 53, Ghani 49, Nabi 40) beat Zimbabwe 148 all out (Burl 40, Rashid 3-30, Nabi 2-20) by 45 runs
Afghanistan sealed the T20I series against Zimbabwe, with a match to play, in another authoritative display with both bat and ball. Their 48-run win is their 15th consecutive T20 victory in the UAE and captain Asghar Afghan has equalled MS Dhoni's record for the most wins in this format.
Usman Ghani and Karim Janat's 102-run second-wicket stand laid the foundation for Afghanistan to post a total close to 200. They fell seven short, but it was still more than enough against a Zimbabwe side that has not come to grips with how to pace a chase. Zimbabwe's biggest partnership of 62-run between Ryan Burl and Richmond Mutumbami kept them in the game but collapses at the beginning and end of their innings meant they were always behind the game. Zimbabwe slumped to 56 for 5 inside seven overs and then lost four wickets for seven runs in seven balls at the end. They have not won a T20I since October 2019.
Mohammad Nabi had gone 12 T20Is without a wicket before he bowled Zimbabwean captain Sean Williams, who missed a slog sweep and lost his offstump. The dismissal was celebrated enthusiastically by Afghanistan's batting coach HD Ackerman but it wasn't Nabi's biggest contribution on the day. That came a little earlier with his 40 off 15 balls, and later, when he ended the 62-run stand between Richmond Mutumbami and Ryan Burl that threatened to keep Zimbabwe in the hunt.
With the bat, Nabi took Afghanistan's total from middle to mammoth and was an exhibition of power-hitting. Nabi struck three sixes off legspinner Brandon Mavuta in the 16th over, all over long-on to bring up 24 runs off 7 balls for himself and elevate Afghanistan's scoring rate over nine runs an over. He hit one more six, off Muzarabani, when the tall seamer missed a yorker before holing out off a slower ball in the penultimate over of Afghanistan's innings. By then, the stage was set for Asghar Afghan and Rashid Khan to have some fun and they took 18 runs off the last over to take Afghanistan close to 200.
Rashid's records mount
The third-highest wicket-taker in T20Is. All because of three wickets in one over that ended Zimbabwe's hopes of staying in the series. Rashid Khan went for runs - 23 in his first two overs, 21 of them off Burl - but he had the final say once again. Searching for big runs, Burl was caught at deep mid-wicket when he didn't get hold of the first delivery of Rashid's third over. Two balls after that, Brandon Mavuta swept to long-on. And three balls later, Donald Tiripano was bowled as he missed the reverse sweep.
Power in the powerplay
Left-arm seamer Richard Ngarava's two overs for three runs in the powerplay kept Afghanistan quiet in the opening period of their innings but with one over of fielding restriction left, Karim Janat decided to up the ante. He took 20 runs off Blessing Muzarabani's second over including a six down the ground, two cuts that went for four, and upper cut off a short, wide delivery that sailed for six. Janat left Afghanistan one away from fifty runs at the end of the powerplay and had raced to 33 off 18 balls. While Ghani farmed most of the strike in the next six overs, Janat brought up his fifty off 31 balls in the 13th over.
The first no-baller no-one wants
Tinashe Kamunhukamwe enjoyed Zimbabwe's best batting return from the first T20I and their worst in this match when he was dismissed off the first ball of the innings. He was hit on the back leg by a Naveen-ul-Haq ball that moved in sharply from outside off stump. Kamunhukamwe cleared his front leg to try and hit it to the leg side but missed and was struck on the knee, as the pad slipped down. Aleem Dar gave it out lbw, although there may be an argument for the ball sliding past leg stump especially as the wicketkeeper was moving that way, but Kamunhukamwe had more to worry about than that. He needed on-field treatment for what will likely be a painful bruise and had to be helped off the field.
Decisions in the spotlight
Zimbabwe had another batsman who may also have felt aggrieved with the decision made against him. Richmond Mutumbami had reached a run-a-ball 21 when he missed a reverse-sweep and was given out lbw to Nabi, although replays showed he may have been hit outside the line. There is no DRS in this series, but it would have been welcome.