Abu Dhabi Test: Zimbabwe stuns Afghanistan

Afghanistan, who achieved Test status alongwith Ireland in 2017, looked out of depth against Zimbabwe who coasted to a 10-wicket win against them inside two days in their first Test match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

A century from skipper and Man of the Match Sean Williams, coupled with some destructive pace bowling from Blessing Muzarabani and Victor Nyauchi, made the job easier for Zimbabwe as they bundled out the rivals for 135 in their second innings. Williams had hit 105 to guide Zimbabwe to 250 all out in the first innings earlier on Wednesday.

It left Zimbabwe to knock off 17 runs, which they got without any loss, to end the match inside two days to take a 1-0 lead in the series being played in the UAE capital.

Afghanistan, who opted to bat on Tuesday, were bowled out for 131 in their first innings. This was Afghanistan’s third defeat in five Tests since gaining full member status to play the five-day format four years back.

The writing was very much on the wall when Nyauchi had Abdul Malik in the second over for a duck for batsman’s pair on debut. Nyauchi then had Rahmat Shah (zero) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (four) while Muzarabani had Munir Ahmad (one) and rival skipper Asghar Afghan (14) to leave Zimbabwe rocking at 47-6. Nyuaci’s previous best of 3-69 was on his debut against Sri Lanka at Harare last year.

Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe added 117 more runs after resuming at 133-5 to gain crucial lead. Williams, who resumed on 54, lost his overnight partner Ryan Burl for eight but then found support in Regis Chakabva (44) as the duo added 75 for the seventh wicket.

Williams completed his third Test century, and second in successive Tests, soon after lunch with a single to square leg. He had 10 boundaries while Chakabva smashed a six and six boundaries.

Left-arm spinner Hamza finished with career-best figures of 6-75 – his second five-for in Tests after his 5-74 against West Indies at Lucknow in 2019.

The second Test starts on March 10, also in Abu Dhabi.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan 131 all out & 135 all out. Zimbabwe 250 all out & 17 for no loss.

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