|Finished.198/5 (20) - 150/7 (20)|
It’s a strange case of David and Goliath as Afghanistan meet Zimbabwe for the T20 series. To be fair, Zimbabwe have shown in the Test series that they are no David, but while this was the first Test series between the two teams, the Afghans are statistically far ahead when it comes to T20s. This will be an important series between the two teams, with Afghanistan looking to be in the best shape they have ever been in, and Zimbabwe at their best since the tumultuous events of 2003-04 which left their team struggling to be competitive for the next 16 years. Afghanistan will be looking to leapfrog the West Indies and Bangladesh in the ICC rankings, while Zimbabwe will want to claim their first T20 series win against a Test playing nation since 2009/10. Before the two sides hit the field, let’s take a look at how they stand.
Asghar Afghan (c), Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Afsar Zazai (wk), Usman Ghani, Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Amir Hamza, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Farid Malik.
Afghanistan predicted XI for 1st T20 vs Zimbabwe
Asghar Afghan (c), Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Amir Hamza, Naveen-ul-Haq.
Preview and form
In their T20 career, Afghanistan have a truly enviable record as far as bilateral T20 series go, with 12 wins and only 3 defeats. Granted, they haven’t played against many top teams, but it is nevertheless an excellent record. For this one, they will be led by the experienced Asghar Afghan, who will have the likes of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, and Najibullah Zadran to score the runs, Mohammad Nabi and to a certain extent Rashid Khan as all-rounders, and Karim Janat, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Amir Hamza, and Naveen-ul-Haq to do the bowling. It’s a well-rounded squad, but it does lack a few big players who are struggling to get their visas. These are Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Waqar Salamkheil, and Azmatullah Omarzai, who are all likely to join the squad sometime soon.
Afghanistan key players for 1st T20 vs Zimbabwe
Rahmanullah Gurbaz: The young talent is a sight for sore eyes, and can get the runs flowing with ease.
Hashmatullah Shahidi: Fresh from his incredible double ton, Shahidi will be looking to create waves in the T20s as well.
Rashid Khan: Probably offended by the fact that I didn’t include him in the key players list for the second Test, Rashid brought on his usual force-of-nature self, and probably own the T20s as well.
Amir Hamza:Hamza is no less than Rashid on a good day.
Sean Williams (c), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva (wk), Kevin Kasuza, Wesley Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Prince Masvaure, Brandon Mavuta, Tarisai Musakanda, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Donald Tiripano.
Zimbabwe predicted XI for 1st T20 vs Afghanistan
Sean Williams (c), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva (wk), Wesley Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Prince Masvaure, Tarisai Musakanda, Blessing Muzarabani, Victor Nyauchi, Donald Tiripano.
Preview and form
In sharp contrast to Afghanistan, Zimbabwe have only ever won one single bilateral T20 series, which as we mentioned, was ages ago. Nevertheless, winning a Test match after years will no doubt instill them with some much needed self-belief and morale - two ingredients essential in cooking up an upset. Sean Williams once again leads the side, and he’ll be joined by Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva, Prince Masvaure, Ryan Burl, and Tarisai Musakanda with the bat. Sikandar Raza and Wesley Madhevere as all-rounders, and Blessing Muzarabani, Victor Nyauchi, Donald Tiripano, and Wellington Masakadza with the ball, among others. That being said, it is likely that Kevin Kasuza might replace Masvaure or Musakanda, while Brandon Mavuta might also replace whoever’s left out of those two.
Zimbabwe key players for 1st T20 vs Afghanistan
Sean Williams: The captain has been in fantastic touch as of late.
Wesley Madhevere: A disappointment in the 5-day format, Madhevere will be glad to back in his natural habitat.
Victor Nyauchi: After a surprisingly solid performance in the first Test, Nyauchi will be bringing his skills to the T20s.
Blessing Muzarabani: Currently the most consistent bowler in the Zimbabwean lineup.
Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe head to head
In the three series these two teams have played against one another, Afghanistan have won every match. Overall, Afghanistan has won 8 matches to Zimbabwe’s 1 head to head, but that one victory was the last match the two teams played, so it will be fresh on everyone’s minds.
Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe 1st T20 pitch report and weather conditions
The pitch at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium is a beautifully balanced one, with a little something for everyone. That being said, spinners should be able to keep their economy rates lower than speedsters. Whichever team wins the toss will want to field first, and the team batting first will want to get 180 or more on the board if they want to feel safe.
Once again, the beauty of Arabia in springtime shows itself in the form of perfect cricketing conditions. No rain, pleasant temperatures, and a nice breeze.
Can Afghanistan continue their bilateral dominance over the Chevrons? Or will Williams’ men surprise most people to get off to a winning start in the series? Find out if our Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe predictions come true on Wednesday!
|AFG Top Batsman:|
|ZIM Top Batsman:|
|AFG Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|ZIM Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|R Gurbaz/H Shahidi (AFG), S Williams/W Madhevere (ZIM)|