Teenage leg-spinner Rashid Khan took three wickets while Mohammad Nabi smacked a quick-fire 40 as Afghanistan strolled to a five-wicket win over Zimbabwe in Monday’s first Twenty20 international in Sharjah.
Khan was signed by Sunrisers Hyderabad for $1.41 million in last month’s Indian Premier League auction and returned figures of three for 19 from his four overs as Zimbabwe were restricted to 120 for 9.
Mohammad Shahzad clubbed a pair of sixes in an 11-ball innings of 20 to ensure Afghanistan, who will play their maiden Test match in June against India, made a promising start to their chase.
A middle-order wobble reduced Afghanistan to 85 for 5 but Nabi held firm to guide his team to victory with more than five overs to spare.
The second and final match of the T20 series takes place at the same ground on Tuesday before the sides face off in five one-day matches, starting on February 9.
Scores in the first T20 between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in Sharjah on Monday:
Zimbabwe 120-9 in 20 overs (Solomon Mire 34; Rashid Khan 3-19) v Afghanistan 121-5 in 14.4 overs (Mohammad Nabi 40 not out)
Afghanistan won by five wickets.