Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi combined for seven consecutive sixes as Afghanistan cruised to a 28-run T20I tri-series victory over Zimbabwe.

A day after losing to Bangladesh in a close opening match of the tournament, Zimbabwe's defeat this time always looked likely as they had no answer to some big Afghanistan hitting in Dhaka.

After Afghanistan posted 197-5, Zimbabwe only managed 169-7 and never looked like reaching the target.

Zadran fired a career-best 69 not out from 30 balls in an innings that included six maximums, while Nabi hit 38 from 18 as part of a 107-run fifth-wicket partnership that proved decisive.

The standout period of that double act, which saw Afghanistan surge from 90-4 to their final total, came in the 17th and 18th overs.

Nabi smashed four consecutive maximums off the bowling of Tendai Chatara (2-53), before Zadran started the next over with three sixes in a row against a hapless Neville Madziva, whose wicket-less three overs went for 34.

After a wide, Zadran thought he had an eighth straight six only for a video review to reveal his shot over point had dropped just inside the rope.

Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz's 43 had earlier set the foundations, his effort ending when the impressive Sean Williams (2-16) trapped him lbw.

Zimbabwe's chase was doomed as soon as they lost two wickets in three balls to conclude the fourth over, Fareed Ahmad (2-35) ending the innings of Brendan Taylor (27) before removing Williams for a duck.

With captain Hamilton Masakadza (3) having already been run out, Zimbabwe were 30-3 and forced to consolidate, with Regis Chakabva's flamboyant 42 not out coming too late in the day as Rashid Khan claimed 2-29.

Hosts Bangladesh take on Afghanistan in the third match of the tri-series on Sunday, looking to avenge a Test defeat this week.

Afif Hossain blasted a rapid half-century to ensure Bangladesh edged to a three-wicket Twenty20 win over Zimbabwe.

Afif put on 82 with Mosaddek Hossain, who made an impact with both bat and ball, to lead Bangladesh home to their target of 145 in an 18-over game in Dhaka on Friday.

Rain delayed the start of the opening game of the tri-series, which also includes Afghanistan, and Shakib Al Hasan opted to bowl after winning the toss.

Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza, in his final series before retirement, made 34 but his team needed Ryan Burl to smash an unbeaten 57 off 32 balls in an unbroken partnership with Tinotenda Mutombodzi (27) worth 81 to finish on 144-5.

Mosaddek's excellent figures of 1-10 off three overs helped restrict Zimbabwe's scoring and he returned to make 30 not out after the hosts had slipped to 29-4 when star man Shakib fell for one.

Sensational hitting from Afif, the 19-year-old smashing eight fours and a six in his 26-ball knock in just his second international appearance, put Bangladesh in the box seat after he came in at 60-6.

He was out in the 18th over to end the alliance but Mohammad Saifuddin (6 not out) finished the job with two balls to spare.

The series continues on Saturday when Zimbabwe take on Afghanistan.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls still have work to do to avoid their lowest finish at the vitality Netball World Cup since 1967 even after a convincing 77-47 thrashing of Zimbabwe on Friday.

The Sunshine Girls campaign has been bitterly disappointing. Coming off the heels of their first-ever top-two world ranking, they have failed to finish among the top four for the first time in 24 years, but still fielded a strong team to lead the first quarter 23-15.

The Jamaicans would continue to have a big first half after running out to a 24-9 to end the stanza 47-24 leaders.

The Jamaicans took their foot off the gas and Zimbabwe duly took advantage in the third quarter, winning the period 14-12, but that never got them close enough to make a push in the final of the four periods.

At 59-38 heading into the fourth quarter, the game was over, but Jamaica were tired of the competition and pressed home their advantage with a  flourish, winning the final stage 18-9.

Romelda Aiken was still not at her accurate best, scoring 27 goals for Jamaica from 35 attempts, while Rebekah Robinson had 16 from 21, starting from goal attack.

For the Sunshine Girls, skipper Jhaniele Fowler-Reid was perfect, scoring 16 goals from the same number of events.

Shanice Beckford scored 18 from 21 attempts.

The four enjoyed marginally better results than the Zimbabwe shooters, for whom Joice Takaidza had 21 goals from 26 attempts. Sharon Bwanali had six from seven attempts, while Pauline Jani was perfect, scoring 18.

Ursula Ndlovu scored two from three attempts.

The result meant, the World Cup debutants, Zimbabwe, finished seventh, while the Jamaicans can finish, at worst sixth.

A seventh placed-finish for debutants is nothing to scoff at and the Zimbabweans were a happy bunch despite the loss.

“I’m really impressed with our performance today. Against the world number two it’s quite difficult, and as you can see, against them, our team is vertically challenged! But I’m really impressed,” said Felisitus Kwangwa.

Jamaica, rather, chose to look at what they did right to get past the the netball minnows.

“It was a very physical game. We knew that Zimbabwe would be physical but we came prepared for that. Our team is filled with speed, and I think that we matched up quite well with them,” said Stacian Facey.

Sixth is the worst Jamaica has finished since 1967. They do have a chance to save some blushes by finishing fifth.

That opportunity comes when they play against the very tough Malawi on Sunday.

The ICC has suspended Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) with immediate effect to ensure the sport is kept free of political interference.

State-owned enterprise the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the entire Zimbabwe Cricket board last month, with an interim committee appointed to run cricket in the country.

SRC acted after issuing a directive that the governing body elective annual general meeting would be suspended amid allegations over the nomination process and the violation of ZC's constitution, along with "various other controversies".

The international governing body has now taken the decision to strip Zimbabwe of full member status, which puts their hopes of featuring in the T20 World Cup next year in doubt.

An ICC statement said: "The ICC board unanimously decided that the full member had failed to fulfil their obligation to provide a process for free and democratic elections and to ensure that there is no government interference in its administration for cricket.

"ICC funding will be suspended, and representative teams from the country will be barred from participating at ICC events, putting their participation in October's men's T20 World Cup qualifier in jeopardy."

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said: "We do not take the decision to suspend a member lightly, but we must keep our sport free from political interference,

"What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC Constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked. The ICC wants cricket to continue in Zimbabwe in accordance with the ICC Constitution."

The introduction of concussions replacements in internationals was also sanction at the ICC Annual Conference in London, with like-for-like replacements allowed to be made from the first Ashes Test between England and Australia next month - pending approval from the match referee.

Another rule change sees captains no longer facing a ban for slow over-rates.

Cedric Bakambu scored twice as Democratic Republic of Congo saw off Zimbabwe 4-0 to get off the mark with their first victory in this year's Africa Cup of Nations and remain in the hunt for a place in the last 16.

Following defeats by the same 2-0 scoreline to Uganda and tournament hosts Egypt in their first two matches, only victory would do for Florent Ibenge's side in Cairo if they were to finish above their opponents in Group A.

And they got the job done in emphatic fashion in Sunday's clash as Jonathan Bolingi and Britt Assombalonga scored either side of Bakambu's brace.

DR Congo claimed third place and a possible spot in the knockout stages, depending on results elsewhere over the next two days, while eliminating their opponents in the process. 

Zimbabwe, heading back home without a win from their three matches, gifted DR Congo their opener as goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze parried Jacques Maghoma's fourth-minute free-kick onto the crossbar and Bolingi converted the headed rebound.

Bakambu gave his side some breathing space half an hour later by flicking the ball past Chipezeze with the outside of his boot after being played through on goal by a simple pass in behind from Issama Djos.

Chadrac Akolo should have put the game out of Zimbabwe's reach before half-time, only to fire his volley from 12 yards right at Chipezeze once picked out by Djos.

But Zimbabwe were unable to take the rare chances that fell their way, with Nyasha Mushekwi being denied by Matampi Ngumbi with a flicked finish from the best of them just short of an hour in, and Bakambu soon added a third.

The Beijing Guoan striker was brought down by Chipezeze when attempting to round the keeper to win a penalty, which he took himself and converted. 

Assombalonga came off the bench to add a fourth 12 minutes from time with a close-range finish after yet more questionable goalkeeping from Chipezeze.

Zimbabwe head coach Sunday Chidzambwa urged his players to be more clinical in front of goal as they aim to keep their Africa Cup of Nations campaign alive against Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.

Both sides head into their final Group A encounter without a win to show for their efforts, with Zimbabwe claiming a 1-1 draw against Uganda last time out after going down 1-0 to hosts Egypt in the tournament opener.

If Mohamed Salah and company are able to maintain a 100 per cent record, victory over DR Congo might be enough for Chidzambwa's men to claim the second automatic qualification spot on goal difference.

The standout moment of their last match came when Knowledge Musona somehow contrived to pick out the crossbar when confronted with an open goal after team-mate Khama Billiat cancelled out Emmanuel Okwi's opener.

"In every match there is some sort of pressure due to the desire to win, but our main aim is to prevent pressure and play to win," Chidzambwa said.

"That's what we'll do against Congo to [try to] qualify. We struggled from missing our chances against Egypt and Uganda but we'll try to fix that while facing Congo."

DR Congo were also left to rue near misses in their loss to Egypt, with Marcel Tisserand and Jonathan Bolingi both hitting the bar during the first half.

"Despite the losses in our last two matches, we'll give everything to win against Zimbabwe," said head coach Florent Ibenge, who could yet edge his team through as one of the best third-place teams – although that would in all likelihood require a handsome victory.

"We've conceded four goals and that is not easy to take, but every match is a new challenge to win."


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Zimbabwe – Khama Billiat

Ibenge cautioned his players against becoming fixated with Billiat's threat, but the Kaiser Chiefs forward is certainly the player in form within a misfiring Zimbabwe attack. The 28-year-old was named man of the match after a tidy close-range finish versus Uganda.

DR Congo – Youssouf Mulumbu

The experienced former Paris Saint-Germain and West Brom midfielder has not featured yet in Egypt but is expected to return against Zimbabwe. Mulumbu will be looking to respond after a frustrating season at club level, where a move to Celtic failed to ignite and he was loaned back to fellow Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock.

Key Opta facts

- Zimbabwe are winless in five Africa Cup of Nations games (D2 L3), after winning two of their previous four (L2).
- DR Congo have been eliminated in the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations in four of their past eight participations in the tournament, after qualifying for the knockout stage in each of their previous four.
- Zimbabwe have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their 11 games played at the Africa Cup of Nations, conceding 23 times.
- Musona has been involved in two of Zimbabwe's past three goals in the Africa Cup of Nations, with a goal and an assist.

Knowledge Musona produced one of the Africa Cup of Nations' all-time great misses as Zimbabwe's hopes of progression were further dented in a 1-1 draw with Uganda.

Sunday Chidzambwa's side were on level terms in Cairo at the time of the miss after Khama Billiat cancelled out Emmanuel Okwi's opener.

But Zimbabwe, beaten 1-0 by hosts Egypt in their opening match last week, missed their big opportunity to get a first win in this year's competition as captain Musona somehow missed an open goal from four yards.

Uganda held on for a draw to add to the three points collected against DR Congo - their first AFCON win in 41 years.

That left them top of Group A ahead of tournament hosts Egypt's game in hand against DR Congo later on Wednesday.

Uganda had won two of their previous 15 meetings with Zimbabwe in all competitions, but they were in front inside 12 minutes as Lumala Abdu's shot was parried by back-up keeper George Chigova and Okwi had a simple close-range finish.

That goal sparked a response from Chidzambwa's men, with Musona lifting a shot over the bar from eight yards and Billiat dragging a shot wide.

Billiat made amends for that miss five minutes before half-time, though, as he rounded off a fine team move by getting in front of his man to divert Ovidy Karuru's cross away from goalkeeper Denis Onyango.

Then came Musona's incredible miss six minutes into the second half - the Anderlecht-owned striker only managing to pick out the crossbar despite having a completely unguarded net to aim for when the ball dropped into his path in front of goal.

Billiat had a first-time shot kept out by Onyango and Patrick Kaddu volleyed over a glorious opportunity late on at the other end as the spoils were shared.

 

Uganda captain Denis Onyango feels it will be an advantage for him to know so many of Zimbabwe's squad as they also play their club football in South Africa.

The Cranes beat Democratic Republic of Congo 2-0 in their Group A opener to sit level on points with Egypt at the top of the Africa Cup of Nations section.

Another positive result against Zimbabwe on Wednesday would go a long way to sealing qualification for the knockout rounds for the first time since 1978. 

But Onyango, who plays for South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns, insisted his side's full focus is on facing familiar foes Zimbabwe despite a looming clash with hosts Egypt.

"We are playing against a very good team and to be honest I know 90 per cent of their players and they are very good, as we saw them against Egypt [a 1-0 loss]," he told reporters.

"Our target is to go through and we just think of the next game. We want to get maximum points and fight very hard to get the result we need.

"We are not thinking of the Egypt game because we are playing Zimbabwe now. We don't want to overlook that because we are taking the match very seriously so as to enter our last game knowing our fate.

"Zimbabwe have some very good players that I know very well and that's good for us."

Despite being in danger of suffering an early exit, Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa says his side still hold out hope of qualifying against the odds.

"We play against Uganda, who are a very good side," he told a news conference. "They defeated DR Congo and I think we have to fight hard for the entire game and I just hope we will be at our best to get a good result that will revive our qualification hopes.

"Against Egypt we didn't have many chances, but we will try to do better this time. We lost against the home team and I think we had a good game.

"I told the players to forget about this match and start to correct our mistakes. We are not here to add numbers but we came to compete."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Uganda – Farouk Miya

Not only has Miya been involved in Uganda’s last three goals in the Africa Cup of Nations - scoring one and providing two assists - he netted the winner in a 1-0 triumph over Ivory Coast in a pre-tournament friendly.

Zimbabwe – Knowledge Musona

On the books of Anderlecht, Musona is one of the few Zimbabwe players with experience of playing in a top European league. He is the leading scorer in the AFCON squad named by Chidzambwa and offers his side's best chance of getting off the mark in Egypt.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- It will be the first game between Uganda and Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup of Nations.
- Uganda have won just two of their 15 games against Zimbabwe in all competitions (D8 L5).
- They have also won only four of their last nine games in the Africa Cup of Nations (D1 L4), after winning none of their first 11 in the competition (D1 L10).
- Zimbabwe have won only two of their 10 games in the competition (D1 L7), failing to keep a clean sheet in any of these 10 games.

Egypt got their Africa Cup of Nations campaign off to a solid start as Trezeguet's excellent strike secured a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe.

AFCON poster boy Mohamed Salah was in sparkling form in Cairo on Friday, but it was Egypt's other winger who broke the deadlock shortly before half-time in the Group A opener.

It was no less than seven-time winners Egypt deserved, with Zimbabwe's Edmore Sibanda – who was forced off through injury late on – having made a string of impressive saves to keep the tournament hosts at bay.

Salah was denied by another fine Sibanda stop midway through the second half, but Egypt's profligacy did not come back to bite them as they comfortably secured the points.

Egypt talisman Salah was involved inside two minutes when his deflected cross forced a save from Sibanda, who then kept out Marwan Mohsen from the resulting corner.

Mahmoud Alaa should have turned home a Salah corner and Egypt were almost punished when Khama Billiat got through at the other end, but Mohamed El-Shenawy made a brave stop.

Egypt finally got their breakthrough four minutes before half-time – Trezeguet cutting in from the left and firing a sublime finish into the bottom-right corner.

Trezeguet looked set to get a second shortly after the restart, only for Sibanda to pull off a wonderful stop to his left.

Sibanda's remarkable performance continued in the 67th minute, the 35-year-old reacting sharply to get down to Salah's close-range effort.

Zimbabwe's goalkeeper succumbed to a knock with 10 minutes remaining, though replacement Elvis Chipezeze proved his worth with a brilliant late stop to deny Salah and ensure Egypt had to settle for a one-goal victory.

Mohamed Salah will carry the hopes of the host nation into Egypt's 2019 Africa Cup of Nations opener against Zimbabwe in Cairo on Friday.

The Pharaohs and the continent's outstanding player are chasing an eighth African title having fallen short in the 2017 final against Cameroon.

The champions were the intended hosts before organisers stripped them of those rights amid security and preparation concerns, and Egypt's record when staging the AFCON is formidable.

Three of the previous four times – 1959, 1986 and 2006 – they have run out winners and came third in 1974.

Having a fully fledged global star such as Liverpool forward Salah in their ranks only serves to heighten expectations in a football-mad nation.

"In Egypt, football is almost a religion," said their former Mexico head coach Javier Aguirre, who has overseen six wins and one defeat from eight matches in charge since succeeding Hector Cuper, in an interview with The National.

"It's totally crazy. Mohamed Salah is like… do you remember David Beckham at Real Madrid? I was living there at the time [while in charge of Atletico Madrid] and it was unimaginable.

"Many security guards. He could not even go to the street. With Mohamed, it's very difficult. Today, in Muslim countries, in African countries, he's the best. No doubt about it. For the fans, he's like [Lionel] Messi or Cristiano [Ronaldo]. It's unbelievable."

Zimbabwe boss Sunday Chidzambwa believes Egypt are the tournament favourites and is realistic about his own team's prospects at Cairo International Stadium.

"We know how strong Egypt are especially when they play at home and the fans on their side supporting them throughout the competition," he told reporters.

"Now that we are in the AFCON group stages, we will work hard to get the best possible results in all our games."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Egypt – Mohamed Salah

The likes of Mohamed Elneny and captain Ahmed Elmohamady underline the fact Egypt are far from a one-man team. But it is impossible to look beyond their star attraction, who heads into a moment of reckoning before his adoring public at the peak of his powers and as a Champions League winner. Stop him if you can.

Zimbabwe – Nyasha Mushekwi

Back in the national team picture for the first time in two years after scoring 15 times for Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League last season. The 30-year-old striker is well travelled, having plied his trade in South Africa, Belgium and Sweden before moving to Asia.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Egypt have reached the final in each of their last four AFCON participations, losing only one of their last 25 games in the competition (W18 D6) – but that was the final in 2017.
- Zimbabwe are making their fourth AFCON appearance. They have finished bottom of their group in each of their previous three participations and never kept a clean sheet in nine matches.
- Salah was directly involved in four of Egypt's five goals at the 2017 AFCON, with two goals and as many assists – the joint most in the tournament alongside DR Congo's Junior Kabananga.

Brian Lara made 375 to break the record for most runs in a Test innings 25 years ago - and his unbeaten 400 a decade on remains the highest score today. 

Zimbabwe international Graeme Cremer has temporarily stepped away from cricket to look after his children while his wife's career as a pilot takes priority.

Cremer, formerly captain of his country, has joined his family in Dubai, meaning he has had to put his cricket career on hold.

The 32-year-old has played 19 Tests for Zimbabwe - most recently in December 2017 against South Africa - and explained that he will be keen to return to the fold in the future.

"With my wife always away flying, I now have a full-time job looking after the kids," Cremer explained.

"I'm hoping this may only be temporary, so I may be able to commute back and forth to Zimbabwe, and I hope to join the boys again in the future."

Cremer was dismissed as Zimbabwe skipper last year after the team failed to qualify for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. He later pulled out of contention for a Twenty20 international tri-series due to a pay dispute.

Brendan Taylor's second century of the match was in vain as Mehidy Hasan spun Bangladesh to a 218-run win over Zimbabwe and a 1-1 series draw in Dhaka.

Taylor made two hundreds in a Test for the second time in his career, but was left stranded on 106 when the tourists were dismissed for 224 on day five.

Mehidy took 5-38 - his fifth five-wicket Test haul - as Zimbabwe lost their last five wickets for 38 runs, leaving Taylor unbeaten after scoring a defiant 106 to equal Andy Flower's tally of 16 centuries for Zimbabwe.

Peter Moor offered some support, but Mehidy ran through the tail to seal victory in the second session at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, where Mushfiqur Rahim was named Man of the Match for his record 219 not out.

Mustafizur Rahman got the breakthrough after Zimbabwe resumed on 76-2, cleaning up Sean Williams (13) in the ninth over of the day and Sikandar Raza (12) followed caught and bowled by Taijul Islam (2-93).

Taylor and Moor combined for a 139-run stand in the first innings and frustrated the Tigers again, occupying the crease with patience to give Zimbabwe hope of clinging on for a draw.

The excellent Taylor reached a 95-ball half-century before lunch, but Mehidy struck again after the interval, reducing Hamilton Masakadza's side to 186-5 when Moor was caught at short leg by Imrul Kayes. 

Regis Chakabva was run out attempting an ill-advised single and although Taylor reached three figures by taking a positive approach to Taijul, Mehidy took three quick wickets to secure victory, with Tendai Chatara unable to bat.

Mahmudullah scored an unbeaten century as Bangladesh made strides towards victory on day four of the second Test against Zimbabwe in Dhaka.

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah (101 not out) got his first Test hundred since February 2010 as the hosts set a target of 443 by declaring on 224-6, and they made in-roads as Zimbabwe lost two wickets before stumps.

Zimbabwe's outlook would have been optimistic earlier on Wednesday, with Kyle Jarvis (2-27) claiming the wickets of Imrul Kayes (3) and Liton Das (6) in the space of three balls before Donald Tiripano (2-31) dismissed Mominul Haque (1) and Mushfiqur Rahim (7) to leave Bangladesh in trouble on 25-4.

However, Mahmudullah and Mohammad Mithun (67) stopped the rot with a fifth-wicket stand of 118.

The skipper found the ropes four times and added a pair of maximums to anchor the hosts' innings, with Mehidy Hasan (27 off 34) proving a capable deputy after Ariful Haque went for five.

Zimbabwe's hopes of claiming a second victory had already taken a hit, and they suffered a further setback with opening duo Hamilton Masakadza (25) and Brian Chari (43) falling in the final session.

The visitors closed on 76-2, trailing by 367, and will have to produce a stunning effort on day five if they are to even hold out for a draw.

Brendan Taylor hit his fifth Test century but Taijul Islam had the last word in Dhaka to boost Bangladesh's hopes of a series-levelling victory over Zimbabwe.

Replying to Bangladesh's mammoth first-innings score of 522-7, the tourists ended day three in the second Test 304 all out, meaning they still trail by 218 runs.

They had at one stage slipped to 131-5 before Taylor combined with Peter Moor to put on a 139-run stand that held up the home side's progress either side of the tea interval.

However, once the partnership was broken, Ariful Haque trapping Moor lbw for a career-best 83 despite the batsman attempting to overturn the on-field decision with the aid of the review system, Zimbabwe's innings subsided quickly in the final session.

Taylor became the seventh batsman to depart when his knock of 110 came to an end in specular fashion, a diving Taijul clinging on to a stunning catch in the deep.

Zimbabwe lost two more wickets prior to the close of play and with Tendai Chatara unable to bat due to a leg injury, they face the prospect of being asked to follow on by home skipper Mahmudullah.

Taijul (5-107) was the pick of the Bangladesh attack, claiming his third successive five-wicket haul in the longest format after taking 11 in a losing cause in the first Test in Sylhet.

Having knocked over four of Zimbabwe's top six, the slow left-armer dismissed Regis Chakabva with what turned out to be the final ball of Monday's play, aided by a sharp catch by Mominul Haque at short leg.

Opener Brian Chari had earlier made 53 before departing to Mehidy Hasan, who backed up fellow spinner Taijul with 3-61 from 20 overs.

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