Afghanistan 229 for 2 (Ibrahim 120*, Rahmat 88) beat Zimbabwe 228 (Kaia 63, Burl 51*, Fareed 3-56) by eight wickets
Kaia, who played in his second ODI, scored a career-best 63 and showed a strong run of strikes all over the ground. His proactive approach to spin and positive footwork was the hallmark of his innings, although it also proved to be his downfall. He was well set as he advanced on the track against left-armer Fareed Ahmed, who saw him coming and dropped him short. Kaia went to the top and Rahmanullah Gurbaz grabbed a good catch to end his innings.
That wicket created a domino effect. Two overs later, Milton Shumba attempted a fuller Fareed delivery from the back foot, missed and was lbw out on assessment and two overs later, Raza Mohammed Nabi attempted to cut over a short third man, but hit the ball straight to him. Donald Tiripano played Rashid Khan on his stumps to give the leg pinner his second wicket after removing Wessley Madhevere in his first over and Tendai Chatara was caught on extra cover trying to hit Nabi over the top.
At 177 for 8 Zimbabwe ran into trouble but an enterprising stance between Burl and Muzarabani saw them bust through the overs and up the ante at the end. Burl and Muzarabani alternated the attack well, scoring 19 singles and eight twos in their 63 deliveries combined. Burl crossed the line just three times, twice in consecutive balls from Fareed for four and then a slog over cow corner for six. His 50 came from 58 balls.
In the end, it was not enough to harass the Afghan position, which avoided a small target with few obstacles. They ran to 17 of the first two overs before Gurbaz was doled out lbw by a delivery coming in from Blessing Muzarabani. He assessed but was unsuccessful.
Completely unaffected by his opening partner’s departure, Ibrahim continued to shoot deliveries off his pads from a wayward Tendai Chatara, whose first three overs cost 21 runs, and he pulled it all away. He also took a spin and sent Burl to the long-running fence, bringing forward his fifty, of 59 deliveries, of Raza. Ibrahim could have been out in the next over, cutting off an attempt to cut off Tiripano to Chakabva, but the wicketkeeper couldn’t hold out. On the other hand, Rahmat, who had shown a collection of discs, passed fifty of 71 deliveries almost unnoticed.
With almost no pressure from the Zimbabwean attack, Ibrahim and Rahmat were able to spin the attack freely and had the required run rate well under control. Ibrahim brought out his hundred with a rare cover drive, from the 120th ball he encountered. Rahmat could have followed, but with 18 runs to go, he chased a wide pitch and took it off, falling for 88. Ibrahim hit the winning runs for Afghanistan, with 33 balls left.