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Zimbabwe beats Afghanistan by 6 wickets in 1st one-day international

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BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe beat Afghanistan by six wickets on Friday in the first of four one-day internationals, the latter's first bilateral series against a test-playing nation.

Sean Williams' 70 from 65 balls set up the host's victory as Zimbabwe reached 227-4 to overtake Afghanistan's 223-9 with nearly five overs to spare.

Williams shared a 93-run stand with captain Brendan Taylor (43) for one of two decisive partnerships. Williams then put on 85 with Elton Chigumbura before falling with his team just short of the target.

Opener Sikandar Raza returned after retiring hurt earlier in the innings to see the Zimbabweans home at Queens Sports Club with his unbeaten 42 alongside Chigumbura, who made 32 not out. With the scores level, Chigumbura clinched the win with a four.

Afghanistan's total was set up by half centuries from Samiullah Shenwari and captain Mohammad Nabi. Shenwari was unbeaten on 65 and Nabi hit 54 from just 32 balls at No. 6 after Afghanistan was 99-4 and in early difficulties. They put on 73 runs together to give Afghanistan a chance of a decent total only for four wickets to fall for six runs at the end.

Zimbabwe seamers Tendai Chatara and Donald Tiripano, who was on debut, took two wickets each.

Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza fell cheaply at the start of Zimbabwe's chase giving Afghanistan an advantage at 27-2. But Raza, Taylor, Williams and Chigumbura all contributed to ensure Zimbabwe took an early lead in the four-match series, the home team's first action in over 10 months.

Williams collected eight fours and a six in his rapid knock by the time he fell caught and bowled to Nabi with Zimbabwe just 19 runs short of victory.

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Zimbabwe 227-4 in 45.2 overs (Sean Williams 70, Brendan Taylor 43, Sikandar Raza 42), def. Afghanistan 223-9 in 50 (Samiullah Shenwari 65 not out, Mohammad Nabi 54, Noor Ali Zadran 43; Tendai Chatara 2-37) by 6 wickets

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