Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad notched up the fourth highest score in Twenty 20 international history on Sunday when he scored 118 in his side’s 81 run win against Zimbabwe.
The 27-year-old opener carried his bat, having scored first T20 hundred as Afghanistan batsman. He reached the mark off 52 balls with eight fours and eight sixes.
He scored 118 by the end of the blitz. He finally played 67 balls and hit 10 boundaries. This impressive innings came in the Gulf having already made 131 not out in the second one-day international against Zimbabwe two weeks ago.
Zimbabwe were eventually all out for 134 on Sunday with 11 balls to spare as Afghanistan swept the two-game series having won the first match just by five runs on Friday.
Zimbabwe had earlier claimed the ODI series 3-2 to follow their victory against their same opponents in Africa in October.
Shahzad’s unbeaten 118 was one short of South Africa’s Faf du Plessis’s 119 against West Indies in Johannesburg in January last year.
The highest ever score in T20 international is Australia’s Aaron Finch’s mammoth The highest ever score in T20 internationals is Australia’s Aaron Finch’s mammoth 156 against England in Southampton in 2013 while New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum is second on the all-time list thanks to his 123 against Bangladesh in Pallekele in 2012.
“This is my favourite ground, Sharjah, and I like batting here,” Shahzad told cricinfo.com.
“There is no plan. I want to hit every ball out of the boundary. I have got used to Zimbabwe’s bowlers. I talked with the captain and we thought 150 would be enough.”
Zimbabwe was always struggling in their reply, collapsing to 34-5 at one stage before Hamilton Masakadza bludgeoned 63 off 44 balls with five sixes as he and Peter Moor put on 77 for the sixth wicket.
But once the big-hitting Masakadza was clean bowled by Rashid Khan in the 16th over, the Africans lost all hope.
“It is our fourth series win against them,” said Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai.
“Phenomenal performance by the guys in the series. In next ten years, I can say Afghanistan will beat any side.”
Both sides now head to Bangladesh — Afghanistan for the Asian Cup qualifiers in February, while Zimbabwe will tackle the hosts in a four-game T20 series next week.
“The way Shahzad batted was outstanding — we didn’t have any answers,” said Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura.
“The conditions will be similar in Bangladesh — we will have to make sure we start well in Bangladesh.”