The Kabul Times.
National Sport

Hazrat, Najib and Nijat Star as Afghanistan Beat Zimbabwe in First T20I

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Nijat Masoud, on debut, took 3/39 before Hazratullah Zazai smashed 45 off (26) deliveries at the top of the order and Najibullah Zadran bettered that effort with an unbeaten 44* off (25) balls at the back end of the 2nd inning to help Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by 6
Earlier in the afternoon, the hosts opted to bat first and, with some healthy batting display from Wessley Madhvere at the top of the order and Sikandar Raza at the back end of the inning, posted 159/8 in their first inning.
Raza made 45 off 31 deliveries striking 3 boundaries and a couple of sixes on his way out. Wessley Madhvere made 32 whereas Regis Chakabawa contributed with 29 runs. For Afghanistan, the debutant Nijat Masoud was impressive in his first outing, though he picked three wickets but was a bit on the expensive side as he was taken to the cleaners by Sikandar Raza, before getting him out in his last over to finish with 3/39 in his 4 overs.
Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Fazal Haq all picked one wicket each whereas some tight direct hits from Karim Jannat first up and then from Rashid Khan off his own bowling got them a couple of runouts as the hosts finished with 159/6 runs on the board. In reply, Afghanistan got to a very good start scoring 83/0 in the first half of the inning but lost two wickets in two deliveries to go from 83/0 in 9.5 overs to 83/2 in 10.1 overs.
Gurbaz danced down the track in an attempt to launch one over the long-off but skied it straight up, on the very next delivery, Hazratullah Zazai holed out to Long-off where Raza took a good catch running to his right.
The trouble got bigger and bigger as Usman nicked one to the wicket-keeper as Afghanistan lost three wickets inside six deliveries. Najibullah and Darwish Rasooli struggled big time in the next six overs where no boundary came off in almost 9 overs.
Afghanistan were requiring 54 off the last 4 overs before the big tall fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani was hit for 26 runs in his 3rd over by Najibullah Zadran to bring the equation down to 28 off the last three overs.
Darwish Rasooli was knocked over in the next over, which made way for Muhammad Nabi to come in and strike 3 boundaries in his unbeaten 15* off 8 deliveries. Najibullah Zadran struck a big six over the deep square leg to finish the game with 4 balls to spare.
Najibullah Zadran was awarded the player of the match for his splendid batting performance but he handed over his PotM award to the debutant Nijatullah Masoud for his impressive show with the ball today. Afghanistan will face Zimbabwe in the 2nd match of the series tomorrow, June 12 at the same venue. ACB

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The Kabul Times.