ICC T20 Ranking: Afghanistan’s rise in world cricket over the last couple of years has been an impressive one. The Asian team pulled off an incredible performance in the 2015 ICC ODI World Cup and is set to make its Test debut against India later this year. The team added another feather to its cap on Wednesday by moving to the 8th position in ICC T20 ranking, one spot above Sri Lanka. Afghanistan achieved this milestone by beating Zimbabwe by 17 runs to clinch the two-match T20I series at the Sharjah International Cricket Stadium
After losing the toss, Afghanistan was asked to bat first. Even though the team lost a few quick wickets initially, a quick-fire 45 from Mohammad Nabi in the latter half, helped his side to 158 for nine. Opener Mohammad Shahzad chipped in with 17, Karim Sadiq 28 and Asghar Stanikzai 27. Karin Sadiq and Stanikzai added 56 runs in the middle order to steady Afghanistan’s ship and helped them to a respectable total.
For Zimbabwe, skipper Graeme Cremer took two vital wickets, dismissing Stanikzai and Sadiq. Then Nabi came to the crease, hitting 45 off 26 balls. He smashed two fours and four sixes. Afghanistan lost six wickets for 18 runs in the final three overs, with Chatara bagging three for 20 and Kyle Jarvis two for 22.
In reply, 16-year-old spinner Mujeeb Zadran who was recently sold for whopping Rs 4 crore in IPL auction 2018, claimed his first T20I wicket by sending Hamilton Masakadza back to the pavilion for 29. Nabi then got rid of Brendan Taylor for 15 runs, putting the visitors on top.
India, meanwhile remains to be on the second spot in ICC T20 rankings, topped by arch-rivals Pakistan. The Indian cricket team, led by Virat Kohli, will have a chance to climb up the ladder later this month when it will take on South Africa in a three-match T20 series. New Zealand is on the second spot in ICC Rankings 2018.