Rashid Khan, the legspinner, starred for Afghanistan by picking up 5 for 24. © Getty Images

Rashid Khan, the legspinner, starred for Afghanistan by picking up 5 for 24. © Getty Images

Rashid Khan’s 5 for 24 helped Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by six wickets in the third One-Day International at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates and go 2-1 up in the five-match series

After opting to bat first, Zimbabwe were bundled out for 154 in 34.3 overs. Afghanistan didn’t have much trouble chasing the paltry target and finished the game in 27.3 overs.

Zimbabwe didn’t have a great start as Dawlat Zadran struck to remove Hamilton Masakadza with just 18 on the board. Brendan Taylor, the centurion of the previous game, didn’t last long either and fell to Mujeeb Ur Rahman for just nine. Two balls later, Mujeeb sent back Solomon Mire as well to reduce the visitors to 44 for 3 in the eighth over.

Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza steadied the innings and took the side past 100. It was at that time Asghar Stanikzai brought Rashid, his strike bowler into the attack and the legspinner didn’t disappoint his captain. First, he trapped Raza in front of the stumps with a wrong ‘un, ending the 73-run association. Raza struck one four and three sixes in his 50-ball 38.

On the very next ball, Rashid snared Ryan Burl lbw with a quicker one to leave Zimbabwe 117 for 5. After that, the wickets kept falling at regular intervals, with Ervine (39 off 55) becoming Rashid’s third victim.

Malcolm Waller and Graeme Cremer were dismissed cheaply by Mujeeb and Gulbadin Naib respectively. Brian Vitori (15) hit a couple of sixes to take the score over 150 but fell two balls later – as the last wicket – to Rashid while trying to repeat the shot. For Afghanistan, Rashid grabbed his third five-wicket haul in ODIs, while Mujeeb chipped in with 3 for 45.

Afghanistan too didn’t start well with Mohammad Shahzad getting out to Tendai Chatara for seven. Chatara then dismissed Ihsanullah Janat (12) to make it 43 for 2 but Rahmat Shah and Nasir Jamal added 69 for the third innings to put the chase back on track.

Rahmat was more aggressive of the two, hitting nine fours and a six in 52-ball 56 before getting out to Burl. Nasir then along with Mohammad Nabi took the side closer to the victory. Nasir was eventually out for 57-ball 51 but by then Afghanistan needed just five more to register the win. Najibullah Zadran hit back to back boundaries to complete the formalities.