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Rashid Khan's 11 wickets deny Zimbabwe great escape as Afghanistan level series 1-1
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Rashid Khan's 11 wickets deny Zimbabwe great escape as Afghanistan level series 1-1

Rashid Khan registered his second 10-wicket haul in Test cricket to set up a series-levelling victory for Afghanistan in spite of a resilient fightback from Zimbabwe.

Afghanistan's six-wicket win in the Abu Dhabi Test marks their third triumph in the longest format after making their debut in 2018 against India.

Following the first Test drubbing where Afghanistan collapsed to a humiliating 10-wicket defeat in two days, the fate of the series finale was decided in the last session of the match.

Rashid starred with a tireless bowling effort that saw him send down the most overs in a Test match among all bowlers this century. He picked up 7/137 in the second innings to rack up an impressive match haul of 11/325.

All seemed rosy for Afghanistan when they batted till the majority of the second day's play to post a mammoth total of 545/4 declared. Powered by a historic double ton from Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afghanistan looked on course for an easy win after bundling out Zimbabwe for 287 in their first innings.

Zimbabwe were then reduced to 142/7 during the follow-on before captain Sean Williams and paceman Donald Tiripano resisted with a tremendous stand of 187 runs.

The duo spent close to 71 overs at the crease, igniting hopes of salvaging an improbable draw. The placid Abu Dhabi surface also worked in Williams and Tiripano's favour as they applied themselves shrewdly out in the middle to frustrate Asghar Afghan's men.

Eventually, Rashid broke the record partnership when he had Tiripano erroneously step back to a delivery that stayed down and thudded on his front pad.

Zimbabwe's No. 10 Blessing Muzarabani too formed a stubborn stand with Williams for a little while but he was wrongly adjudged caught-behind by the umpire.

Williams was left stranded at 151 not out, leaving Afghanistan a possible of 45 overs to chase down the paltry 108-run target. The home side achieved the task in 26.1 overs with Hashmatullah fittingly hitting the winning runs.