HARARE – Man-of-the-match Najibullah Zadran smashed a six off the second ball of the last over as Afghanistan beat host Zimbabwe by six wickets on the first of three Twenty20 internationals on Saturday.

The Asian side needed eight runs off the final over, after Zimbabwe got 159-8 in 20 overs, and there was anticipation in the vocal small crowd at Harare Sports Club when the host’s star fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani was handed the ball for the last over to defend his team’s total.

Zadran, who ended 44 undefeated after cracking two fours and three sixes, collected two runs off the first ball before hitting Muzarabani over square leg for the maximum on the second delivery as Afghanistan reached 160-4 to win with four balls to spare.

Earlier, Sikandar Raza top-scored for Zimbabwe, with 45, in a measured innings.

On international cricket debut, 23-year-old Afghanistan seamer Nijat Masood took 3-39.

“It is the dream of every player to represent his country and to win a debut match,” Masood told reporters. “I bowled in the good areas. That is how I was rewarded and took wickets.”

Openers Hazratullah Zazai (45) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (33) gave Afghanistan a strong start in chase.

Three of the Afghanistan wickets fell to the leg spin of Zimbabwe’s Ryan Burl.

Afghanistan comes into the Twenty20 matches after clean-sweeping the host 3-0 in the one-day international series.


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