Hazratullah Zazai's Record Night, The Afghanistan, The Series Of Win > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Hazratullah Zazai's record-breaking night gives Afghanistan series win

Zazai smashed 162 not out off 62 as Afghanistan posted the highest T20I total.

Hazratullah Zazai's sensational 62-ball 162 helped Afghanistan post the highest T20I total - 278 for 3 - before they sealed an 84-run win over Ireland to clinch the three-match series 2-0 in Dehradun on Saturday (February 23). Ireland, in response, made a phenomenal start before they ran out of steam and were eventually restricted to 194 for 6.

On the day Sri Lanka made history, Zazai decided to create some space for his own in the record books with the second-fastest century in the format. He struck a record 16 sixes during his innings - going past Aaron Finch's record of 14 in Southampton in 2013 - apart from registering the second-highest score by a batsman, another record held by Finch (172). Asghar Afghan decision to bat first worked magnificently as Zazai collaborated with Usman Ghani (73) to score 236 for the opening wicket in 17.3 overs.

The assault started only in the third over - with just seven scored in the first two - as Peter Chase leaked 15 from his first. That over gave Afghanistan the much-needed early momentum as they cruised to 64 after the powerplay with Zazai scoring 35 off 19. He got to his half-century of 25 balls and soon after teed off from there. In the 10th over by Kevin O'Brien, he struck two sixes and four to race to 83 of 35. Afghanistan were absolutely flying as the 150-stand was brought up in the 12th over. Probably rattled by the assault, Paul Stirling bowled three wides on the trot in the next over as Zazai looked to make merry. The opener then struck three sixes to get to his century off 42 balls.

As the pressure mounted, the Ireland bowlers too struggled for discipline and eventually ended up conceding 14 wides in the innings. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't a one-sided assault as Ghani too punished the bowlers to get to his half-century off 31 balls. Boyd Rankin got the first wicket for Ireland but the damage had already been done by then. Ghani was caught trying to pull a short ball from the pacer as the massive opening stand came to an end. Mohammad Nabi struck 17 off 7 while Zazai faced only two balls in the last two overs.

Left with no choice, Stirling came out all guns blazing to help Ireland make a fast start. Even as Ireland score at more than 10 runs per over in the first half of the chase, they were still left needing 170 off 60. The Ireland captain struck the first ball of the chase for a six but O'Brien's relatively slow start hurt the team's chances. Ireland were 32 for no loss after the second over when O'Brien played four dot balls in the third over to stall momentum. As Stirling raced to 38 off 18, his partner was stuck at 6 off 6. Ireland ended the powerplay with 69 on the board.

Afghan teased Ireland as he held back Rashid Khan and allowed the carnage to happen. The No. 1 ranked T20I bowlers had just the kind of impact that was expected. He gave away just six from his opening over as the chase nosedived. O'Brien for a rather underwhelming 25-ball 37 in the 12th over to Fareed Malik. This was also the third instance where both teams had century opening stand in a T20I. Stirling fell for 91 off 50 to Mujeeb ur Rahman in the 14th over as Ireland wobbled in chase. Rashid ended with figures of 4-0-25-4 in a game where bowlers continuously looked for an escape.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 278/3 in 20 overs (Hazratullah Zazai 162*) beat Ireland 194/6 in 20 overs (Paul Stirling 91; Rashid Khan 4-25) by 84 runs.

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