A best wicket haul of his career by leg spinner Rashid Khan helped Afghanistan level their two-game run against Zimbabwe with a hard-fought victory in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The 22-year-old continued his fairytale ascent at the international level 7-137 in a marathon of 62.5 overs to end Zimbabwes’ fierce second innings at 365 shortly after lunch on the fifth and final day.
That gave Afghanistan 108 runs to win in 45 overs, which they achieved by losing four wickets, two each to accelerate Blessing Muzarabani and spinner Ryan Burl.
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But Rahmat Shah with 58 and Ibrahim Zadran 29 saw Afghanistan reach its goal of winning by six wickets and tying the run to 1-1.
Khan bowled a total of 99.2 overs in the second Test – the most by a bowler since Shane Warnes 96 against South Africa in Cape Town in 2002.
Zimbabwe won the first test – also in Abu Dhabi – with ten wickets. The two teams will now play a Twenty20 international series of three games at the same venue starting March 17.
Rashid, whose previous best of 6-49 against Bangladesh on Chattogram in 2019, closed the match with numbers of 11-275, his second ten wicket haul in five tests.
But the crafty spinner had to overcome a tough eighth wicket score of 187 – a new record for Zimbabwe in all tests – between skipper Sean Williams and Donald Tiripano.
Williams was left behind at 151 who came in 465 minutes of challenging at bat, his highest score in the format.
Williams’s previous best of 119 was against New Zealand in Bulawayo five years ago.
Tiripano was unlucky enough to miss a well-deserved one hundred on five runs when he got stuck by Rashid right after lunch.
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Tiripano, whose previous high of 49 failed in the same test as Williamss, reached 16 limits in a 261 minute run.
The Williams-Tiripano stand broke the previous top eighth wicket stand for Zimbabwe of 168 between Heath Streak and Andy Blignaut against the West Indies in Harare in 2003.
They also took the game to the fifth day after Zimbabwe was 142-6 on day four, after being forced to follow after being rejected for 287 in their first innings.
Williams added another 33 for the ninth wicket with Muzarabani (17), but Zimbabwe lost the last two wickets in three runs.
Afghanistan had made a giant 545-4, with Hashmatullah Shahidi putting together an undefeated 200 and skipper Asghar Afghan 164.
This was the Afghans’ third victory in six Tests, while a Test series victory remains elusive for Zimbabwe since Bangladesh was defeated domestically in 2004.
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