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ZIMBABWE cricket reached one of the all-time lows when a dismal display by the top order batsmen saw the home side slump to an embarrassing defeat to Afghanistan, this time around by 100 runs, in the fourth and final ODI at Queens yesterday. The loss meant the four-match series, which was widely expected to end in a 4-0 whitewash for Zimbabwe, ended 2-2.

It was only the second defeat by Zimbabwe to Afghanistan in ODIs with the first ever beating coming at the same venue in the third match on Tuesday.

Afghanistan, aided by 56 runs from wicket-keeper Shafiqullah Shafaq, posted 259 which proved enough as Zimbabwe, despite a fighting display from debutant wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami who made 64 down the order.

Man-of-the-match, medium pace bowler Donald Tiripano’s first five-wicket haul in ODIs, also proved to be in vain.

After winning the toss and sending Afghanistan to bat, Zimbabwe’s new ball opening pair of Tinashe Panyangara and Tiripano kept things tight.

Tiripano, playing his third ODI, made the breakthrough with the first of his five wickets, Javed Ahmadi snared at second slip by Brendan Taylor to depart for seven runs. Afghanistan were soon two down, Ghani trapped leg before wicket by Tiripano for 14. In the first Powerplay, Afghanistan scored 41 runs while losing two wickets. Elton Chigumbura could have had a wicket in his first over, Naib on 25 lofting a delivery from the pace bowler only for the catch to be dropped by Sikandar Raza.

Naib soon fell, having added six runs, dismissed by Shingirai Masakadza, caught behind by wicketkeeper Mutumbami. Nasir Jamal and Samiullah Shinwari added 64 which ended when Jamal was run out going for a tight single.

Zimbabwe’s run chase got off to an awful start with two wickets lost without much runs on the board.

Chakabva was the first to go, taken at cover by Nabi off the bowling of Alam. The two Afghans combined to dismiss Taylor, Nabi being the bowler this time.

It got even worse, Williams run out going for a run that was never there, Zimbabwe threw it away with four wickets lost with only 29 runs on board. Raza, Chigumbura and Waller all went as Zimbabwe lost three wickets with no runs to the scoreboard.

It was left to Mutumbami and Timycen Maruma to rebuild the Zimbabwean innings. Mutumbami reached his maiden ODI half century with a single off left arm spinner, the half ton coming off 39 balls, an innings containing seven fours.

Maruma and Mutumbami put on 97 for the seventh wicket.

Source : The Herald