Hamilton Masakadza’s record-setting swansong helps Zimbabwe end Afghanistan’s T20I streak
Masakadza walks back to the pavilion as his teammates give him a guard of honour (Twitter: @ICC)
- Zimbabwe beat Afghanistan by 7 wickets on Friday
- Hamilton Masakadza's 71 is now the highest score by a player in his last T20I
- The loss ended Afghanistan's winning streak of 12 successive T20Is
Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza played his last game of international cricket on Friday leading his team to a 7-wicket win over Afghnistan in the 5th match of the Bangladesh T20I Tri-nation series in Chattogram. Chasing 156 to win, Masakadza top-scored with 71 runs off 42 balls - an innings which included 4 fours and 5 towering sixes. In doing so, Masakadza and Zimbabwe rewrote a number of cricket records.
Masakadza's 71 is now the the highest individual score by a player in their career's last T20I game. His Zimbabwe career, which spanned across 18 years and 55 days, also happens to be the longest career for any player from the country in international cricket.
Friday's win also marked the first win in nine T20I outings for Zimbabwe against Afghanistan. The African side had not been able to beat their Asian rivals in any of their previous 8 meetings before Friday.
Zimbabwe's 7-wicket win also ended Afghanistan's 12-match winning streak in T20Is. The last time Rashid Khan's team tasted defeat in the format was against West Indies in 2017. The loss was also Afghanistan's first in T20Is in Asia after going unbeaten in a successive 21 games after England beat them in 2016.
Earlier, Masakadza got to his 11th T20I fifty in just 27 balls. Once he got out, all the Afghanistan players including Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi running to come and congratulate him on his stellar international career.
Masakadza retires as the highest run-scorer for Zimbabwe with 1,662 runs to his name from 66 innings at an average of 25.96 and 11 fifties. He has also featured in 38 Tests and 209 ODIs for his country scoring 2,223 and 5,658 runs respectively with 5 half-centuries across both the formats. He had announced his retirement before the beginning of the tri-series and would be happy to have helped his side register their first win in the ongoing tournament.
With Zimbabwe out of the tournament with a solitary win, hosts Bangladesh will clash against Afganistan on Saturday for a dress rehearsal of the final before the impending title clash on September 24 in Dhaka.