Opening batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz led Afghanistan from the front with a 45-ball 87 as his team defeated Zimbabwe by 48 runs in the 1st T20I in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Gurbaz hit a 26-ball fifty, his third in T20Is, as Afghanistan went on to post an above-par target of 199 for Zimbabwe. Sean Williams’s team, however, were only able to score 150/7 in their 20 overs.

Put in to bat first by Zimbabwe, Afghanistan got off to a flyer as Gurbaz and Karim Janat scored 80 runs in the first 8 overs. Janat then departed when he tried to cut a wide delivery and ended up edging it to the Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami.

Gurbaz however, continued to play his strokes and hit 6 fours and 7 sixes with a strike rate of 193. The batsman was 13 runs away from a maiden T20I hundred when he holed out to Donald Tiripano at backward point trying to go for a big hit.

Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan then took the lead and hit a 38-ball 55 run knock that was studded with 6 fours and 2 sixes as hit team neared the 200-run mark and eventually finished their innings at 198/5.

Zimbabwe never seemed to be in the chase as they lost wickets at regular interval with the required run rate shooting up constantly. Opening batsman Tinashe Kamunhukamwe was the highest scorer for Zimbabwe with 44 runs off 37 balls, but no other player scored above 25 and that was difference between the two sides on the day.

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