3rd ODI: Afghanistan defeat Zimbabwe by two wickets

Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by two wickets Tuesday in a thrilling one-day cricket international to keep alive hopes of squaring the series.

Zimbabwe scored 261-8 off 50 overs at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo and Afghanistan reached 264-8 with two balls to spare.

Afghanistan, who lost the first two matches by six wickets and eight wickets, can draw the four-match series by winning again at the same venue Thursday.

The cricket minnows are using the matches to prepare for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next February and March.

Opener Hamilton Masakadza top scored for the hosts with 84 runs and his 93-ball stand included nine fours and two sixes.

Captain Brendan Taylor (53) and Sean Williams (49) were the other Zimbabwe batsmen to impress while Aftab Alam (2-44) and Dawlat Zadran (2-49) returned the best Afghan bowling figures.

Openers Javed Ahmadi (56) and teenager Usman Ghani (43) contributed most to the visitors` run chase followed by Mohammad Nabi (42) and Samiullah Shemwari (41).

Lower-order pair Dawlat Zadran (24) and Shapoor Zadran (5) sealed victory in a tense finish with an unbeaten ninth-wicket stand.

Williams (2-33) and Natsai M`shangwe (2-50) were the most successful Zimbabwe bowlers.

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