Zimbabwe came back strongly in the third ODI against Afghanistan on Saturday to win their first match of the ODI series to make it 1-2. Afghanistan just need a single victory to clinch the five-match ODI series, but Zimbabwe, who can still win the series, need to win both the remaining matches, which makes the 4th ODI a must-win game for Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan played some superb cricket to win the first two ODIs, but were humiliated by the African side, who dismissed the Asian team for a dismal 58 runs in the third ODI while chasing an easy target of 175 runs.
Afghanistan must be deeply hurt with such a pathetic batting display and will be determined to come up with their A game on Monday. Opener Mohammad Shahzad, who scored a crucial ton in the second ODI, will once again hold the key for Afghanistan as they have a good batting line up.
If Shahzad gets his act going at the start of the innings, their order middle order batsman such as Asghar Stanikzai, who is also their skipper, can help consolidate the score to good effect. Asghar is also due for a big score as the skipper has failed with the bat in all the three ODIs so far. His scores so far read an embarrassing 9 runs, 1 and 6.
Afghanistan may not have been impressive with the bat overall, but their bowlers have put up some good performances to make life tough for the Zimbabwe batsmen. Amir Hamza and Mirwais Ashraf have taken six and five wickets respectively in the series so far and will hold the trump card for Afghanistan in the last two ODI matches.
Zimbabwe will depend on their in-form batsman Hamilton Masakadza to counter these Afghanistan bowlers and carry on his good batting form in the crucial fourth ODI as the batsman has scored 47 and 83 runs in his last two innings. With Masakadza in fine form, his ability to change gears as per the situation could well prove to the difference between a victory and defeat in Sharjah.
On the other hand, some of the Zimbabwe batsmen have been decent, but have failed to convert their starts into meaningful scores. Batsmen such as Elton Chigumbara and PJ Moor need to find their touch, else the African team might well have to suffer a series loss against Afghanistan.
Where to watch live
Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe 4th ODI is scheduled for 3pm local time (4:30pm IST, 11am GMT, 1pm Zimbabwe and 3:30pm Afghanistan). India viewers can watch the game on Neo Sports.
Zimbabwe viewers can watch the Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe 4th ODI live on DSTV while Afghanistan cricket fans can watch the crucial fourth ODI live on 1TV with live streaming on 1TV Live Online. Ten Sports will offer live coverage of the Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe 4th ODI in Pakistan and the UAE.