High-flying Afghanistan opt to bat; Tiripano debuts

Toss Afghanistan chose to bat v Zimbabwe
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Afghanistan would be hoping for Mohammad Shahzad to continue his good run of form in the two T20Is in Sharjah © Chris Whiteoak

Asghar Stanikzai won the toss as Afghanistan opted to bat in the first of two T20s against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.

Afghanistan are high on confidence following a 3-2 ODI series win that helped them enter the top 10 of the ODI rankings. But the change in format brought about changes in personnel, with Afghanistan fielding a considerably younger side. Karim Sadiq, Usman Ghani and Najibullah Zadran replaced Nowroz Mangal, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Noor Ali Zadran.

“The ODI series is in the past. This is a different format, we have to play good cricket all over again,” said Staikzai. “The wicket seems a good one for batting, so we need to put up a good total.”

Stanikzai’s counterpart Elton Chigumbura, on the other hand, wasn’t too fussed at losing the toss. Zimbabwe made one change to the side that played the fifth ODI on Wednesday, with Donald Tiripano, the pacer, was handed a T20 debut, with Nevill Madziva missing out.

“Dew could play a part later in the evening,” Chigumbura reasoned, when asked if toss could be an advantage to the side batting first. “We have to redeem ourselves in this version. We have an opportunity to play good cricket here, and show we can win.”

The series serves as good preparation for both sides leading into the World T20 in India in March-April.

Afghanistan won the T20s when both sides last clashed in the shortest-format series in October in Zimbabwe.

Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Asghar Stanikzai (c), Gulbadin Naib, Karim Sadiq, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mirwais Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Amir Hamza

Zimbabwe: Sikandar Raza, Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Elton Chigumbura (capt), Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor, Luke Jongwe, Graeme Cremer, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chisoro

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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