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Afghanistan thrash Zimbabwe to progress

Afghanistan will complete the line-up in Group 1 with England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies after beating Zimbabwe by 59 runs to top Group B at the ICC World Twenty20.

Both sides had overcome Scotland and Hong Kong to set up what was effectively a knock-out match, and it was the associates who overpowered their Test-playing opponents in Nagpur.

Mohammad Shahzad set the tone with a brutal 40 at the top of the order, before substantial contributions from Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi guided Afghanistan to 186 for six.

That always looked too many for Zimbabwe on a surface offering some turn, and as the required rate rocketed they folded for 127 with two balls unused.

Shahzad hammered the ball to all parts as 49 came off the first five overs, but after he reverse swept Sean Williams straight to point the Afghanistan innings lost momentum.

Mohammad Shahzad hits out on his way to 40 off just 23 balls as Afghanistan eased past Zimbabwe

Ashgar Stanikazi, Gulbadin Naib and Noor Ali Zadran all fell cheaply to Tinashe Panyangara, who took 3-32, as Zimbabwe reduced their opponents to 63 for four.

Shenwari and Nabi rebuilt with a perfectly-paced stand of 98 for the fifth wicket, gradually increasing a tempo which reached its crescendo when both hit sixes in a Wellington Masakadza over that eventually cost 21.

Shenwari took 18 off the returning Panyangara before slogging Donald Tiripano to Vusi Sibanda at deep midwicket for 43.

Nabi was run out from the penultimate ball of the innings for 52, but by then the damage had been done for Zimbabwe.

Hamid Hassan bowled Hamilton Masakadza in the fourth over, and spinner Rashid Khan took 3-11 from four overs to sew up Afghanistan’s place in the Super-10 stage.

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