Hosts Zimbabwe made it two wins in their World Cup Qualifiers as they beat Afghanistan by two runs in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
Afghanistan, who were rated among the favourites to make it to next year’s global showpiece in England and Wales, have now lost both their games in the qualification tournament held in Zimbabwe.
Brendan Taylor scored 89 runs for the hosts, and was well supported by Man of the Match Sikandar Raza who made 60 off 68 balls as they were bowled out for 196 in 43 overs.
Afghanistan’s 19-year-old captain, and the joint No 1-ranked ODI bowler in the world, Rashid Khan finished with figures of 3-38, giving them hope of winning their first game of the tournament.
The chase saw Afghanistan lose three wickets for 58 runs, but Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi put on 98 runs for the fourth wicket.
Once Shah was trapped lbw by Blessing Muzarabani, and Nabi caught by wicketkeeper Taylor off the bowling of Raza, Zimbabwe found themselves back in the game, and they continued to pick up wickets regularly.
Brian Vitori bowled the final over for Zimbabwe with Afghanistan needing four to win from six balls. The first was a dot, while the second was a single, which brought No 11 Shapoor Zadran to the crease.
Vitori then sealed the two-run win when he had Zadran caught behind by Taylor for seven.
In the competition’s other game on Tuesday, the West Indies began their campaign with a convincing 60-run win over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Harare.
Man of the Match Shimron Hetmyer top scored with 127, and Chris Gayle scored 123 as the West Indies scored 357-4 from their 50 overs.
In reply, the UAE could only manage 297-6 from their 50 overs. Captain Jason Holder finished with figures of 5-53.