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Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe Preview:
It’s been more than a year since both Afghanistan and Zimbabwe played a Test match, and while it might be difficult for them to hit the straps straightaway, both teams will be happy to be playing the five-day format in which they have made limited appearances in the recent past. While Zimbabwe have only played five Tests since 2018, Afghanistan, who made their Test debut in 2018, have only featured in four five-day matches.
It’s also the first time that Afghanistan are playing more than one Test in a series and they’ll be hoping make good use of this opportunity to showcase their skills and present a case for their Test future. “Our biggest challenge in Test cricket is to bat for hundred overs,” said Afghanistan head coach Lance Klusener in a chat with Cricbuzz.
Afghanistan have managed that twice – a total of 314 against Ireland that set up their maiden Test win in 2019 and a 342 against Bangladesh in the same year that helped them secure a mammoth 224-run victory.
Rahmat Shah was the star for the team in both these games and while Afghanistan will be hoping for more of the same from the batsman, they’ll also be wary of the collapses they suffered the last time in Test cricket. On the bowling front, the spinners will have a key role to play considering the conditions in the UAE.
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Asghar Afghan is back at the helm as Test skipper while as many as eight uncapped players – Abdul Malik, Munir Ahmad Kakar, Shahidullah Kamal, Bahir Shah Mohboob, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Sayed Ahmed Shirzad, Saleem Safi and Zia Ur Rahman Akbar – are part of the Afghanistan squad.
While some key members are missing from the squad, Zimbabwe have recalled Tarisai Musakanda and Ryan Burl while the uncapped Wessely Madhevere is also part of the setup.
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Match: Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe
Series: Afghanistan v Zimbabwe in UAE, 2021
Date: Tuesday, March 02, 2021 – Saturday, March 06, 2021
Time: 09:30 local / 05:00 GMT / 10:30 PST
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe SCORECARD:
Weather and Pitch Conditions:
Abu Dhabi is hosting its first Test since December 2018. The pitches here have been usually on the slower side, with spinners picking up 223 wickets at an average of 34.38 at this venue while pacers have an average of 35.54 for their 189 scalps – which means a battle of patience awaits both teams.
Today’s Playing XI:
Asghar Afghan (c), Ibrahim Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Nasir Jamal, Abdul Malik, Munir Ahmad Kakar, Shahidullah Kamal, Bahir Shah Mohboob, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Sayed Ahmad Shirzad, Saleem Safi, Wafadar Momand, Zia Ur Rahman Akbar, Yamin Ahmadzai.
Sean Williams (c), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Kevin Kasuza, Wesley Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Prince Masvaure, Brandon Mavuta, Tarisai Musakanda, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Donald Tiripano.
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