Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi guide Afghanistan to T20I series win over Zimbabwe in Sharjah

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In the wickets again: Rashid Khan.

Rising star Rashid Khan led Afghanistan to a 17-run victory over Zimbabwe in the second T20 international at Sharjah on Tuesday to wrap up a 2-0 win in the two-match series.

Mohammad Nabi top-scored with a 26-ball 45 as Afghanistan finished on 158-9 from their 20 overs despite losing six wickets for 18 runs, with Zimbabwe falling short on 141-5.

Nabi had also struck 40 in the opening match which saw Afghanistan win by five wickets on Monday.

Zimbabwe were always behind the rate once 16-year-old spinner Mujeeb Zadran – who played a starring role in Afghanistan’s run to the Under-19 World Cup semi-finals – took two early wickets to finish with 2-21 in just his second T20 international.

Leg-spinner Khan, 19, was signed by Sunrisers Hyderabad for $1.41 million in last month’s Indian Premier League auction and finished with 2-23.

Afghan captain Asghar Stanikzai held his trump card up his sleeve on Tuesday, not introducing Rashid until the 13th over, and the youngster claimed the crucial wicket of Sikandar Raza for a 26-ball 40 as the Zimbabwe all-rounder was trapped lbw by a googly.

Afghanistan are now ranked eighth in the ICC T20 rankings.

The Africans’ last hope was Ryan Burl, but he holed out for 30 off Khan.

The two teams will play a five-match one-day international series starting on February 9, with Afghanistan set to take on India in their maiden Test match at Bangalore in June.

Scores in the second T20 between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in Sharjah on Tuesday:

Afghanistan 158-9 in 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 45; Tendai Chatara 3-20) v Zimbabwe 141-5 in 20 overs (Sikandar Raza 40; Mujeeb Zadran 2-21, Rashid Khan 2-23)

Afghanistan win by 17 runs

Provided by AFP Sport

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Explosive batsman D'arcy Short among our Top 5 Big Bash League stars

Alex Broun 3/02/2018
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Man of the tournament: D'arcy Short.

After another scintillating Big Bash, the Aussie league has clearly established itself as the No2, if not the No1 T20 tournament on earth.

Big crowds, 12,462 runs, 443 sixes and 325 catches it has been non-stop thrills per minute – and the 2017-18 season has also seen the emergence of some great talent including the remarkable Territorian D’arcy Short and teenage Afghan leggie Rashid Khan, who spun opposing bats into a twist.

Here are our picks for the top five BBL stars of the year, including one veteran who just won’t go away.

D’arcy Short (Hobart Hurricanes)

It’s been a meteoric rise for the young indigenous bat from WA. He is the top scorer in this year’s BBL with 504 runs, at a scarcely believable strike rate of 147.8, including a freakish 122no from just 69 balls against the Brisbane Heat. His outstanding form has seen him snared by Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and selected for his T20I international debut.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 22: Adelaide Strikers Alex Carey bats during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Adelaide Strikers at Etihad Stadium on January 22, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Pat Scala/Getty Images)

Alex Carey (Adelaide Strikers)

The 26-year-old South Australian is a rare athlete, captaining the GWS Giants AFL club in 2010 before returning to Adelaide to carve a cricketing career. 2017-18 has been a breakout year as the keeper notched up 425 runs (strike rate 143.09) with his first century, 100 exactly, coming against Hobart Hurricanes. This knock saw him flown to the Gabba two days later to make his ODI and soon after he was named in Australia’s T201 squad for the Trans Tasman Series.

BBL - Thunder v Scorchers

Shane Watson (Sydney Thunder)

The much maligned all-rounder is surely reaching the twilight of his career but he refuses to slip quietly away. In an underperforming Thunder side the 36-year-old still totaled 331 runs at a strike rate of 139.07. His bowling was expensive (three wickets at 9.51 per over) but he still did enough to see the Chennai Super Kings fork out the tidy sum of  Dh2.8m

BBL Semi Final - Strikers v Renegades

Travis Head (Adelaide Strikers)

His ODI form for Australia in the recent England series was not great but in the BBL the 24-year-old was at his best, guiding his beloved Strikers to their first ever BBL final. He scored 330 runs in just eight matches at an average of 47.14 with a strike rate of 130.95. His superb 85 in the semi-final was crucial to Adelaide getting home by a single run against the Renegades.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25: Rashid Khan of the Strikers celebrates the wicket of Ashton Turner of the Scorchers during the Big Bash League match between the Perth Scorchers and the Adelaide Strikers at WACA on January 25, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Rashid Khan (Adelaide Strikers)

The 19-year-old Afghan leggie has had a dream debut in the BBL, topping the bowling stats in most wickets (18) and best economy rate (5.65) in what some are calling the greatest BBL ever by a bowler. Unfortunately he won’t play in the final as he is in Sharjah with his national team taking on Zimbabwe.  Can Adelaide still do the business without the spin wiz?

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Ben Stokes included in England ODI squad for New Zealand series

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Ben Stokes' court case has yet to be resolved.

Ben Stokes has been included in England’s one-day squad to face New Zealand “subject to any court obligations”, the England and Wales cricket Board has announced.

The England all-rounder has not played since police launched an investigation into an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

He has since been charged with affray, which he denies, and is due in court later this month.

Stokes missed England’s 4-0 Ashes defeat to Australia and the 4-1 ODI series victory against the same opponents.

The England ODI squad to face New Zealand:

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt.)
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire)
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Sam Billings (Kent)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
Tom Curran (Surrey)
Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire)
Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire)
Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)
Joe Root (Yorkshire)
Jason Roy (Surrey)
Ben Stokes (Durham)
David Willey (Yorkshire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)

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