For a cricketer, hitting a century is always special. It gives a player a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction after putting in years of hard work and dripping gallons of sweat. The players from Afghanistan are finally reaping the rewards for their dedication to the game despite the situation back in their country. Hence the case adds another dimension to their happiness after scoring the ton. Here are the Top 10 Highest Knocks by Afghans in ODI Cricket (as of 1 January 2022) -

1. Mohammad Shahzad (131* Versus Zimbabwe)

This century came in the Second ODI between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in December 2015 at Sharjah. Batting first, Zimbabwe posted a competitive 253/7 in 50 overs. At the end of the 40th over, Afghanistan struggled at 198/6, still needing 56 runs. Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura had taken three wickets. But Mohammad Shahzad, who was hanging in there at one end, and Mirwais Ashraf took their team over the line with 14 balls to spare. Shahzad hit a monstrous 131 with the help of 7 fours and 8 sixes. This still stands as the highest individual score for Afghanistan in ODI cricket.

2. Nawroz Mangal (129 Versus UAE)

During the 2nd ODI against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Dubai in November 2014, UAE invited Afghanistan to bat first. Opener Nawroz Mangal grabbed the opportunity with both the hands and, along with Afsar Zazai, stitched a 103-run partnership for the 2nd wicket. Afghanistan ended up at strong 280/8 in 50 overs. Mangal thrashed UAE bowlers en route to his 129 off 123 laced with eight fours and four sixes. However, Mangal’s century went in vain as UAE eventually won by six wickets with ten balls to spare.

3. Rahmanullah Gurbaz (127 Versus Ireland)

In January 2021, Afghanistan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz scripted history after becoming the first Afghan player to score a century on an ODI debut. In the 1st ODI against Ireland, Gurbaz smashed a run-a-ball 127 with eight fours and nine sixes. Batting first, Gurbaz and Javed Ahmadi added 120 runs for the first wicket. Once Gurbaz got out with Afghanistan on 198/6, Rashid Khan added 55 runs in 30 balls to take his team to 287/9 in 50 overs. All Ireland could manage was 271/9, handing Afghanistan a 16-run victory. Gurbaz was adjudged the Man of the Match.

4. Mohammad Shahzad (124 Versus India)

In the Asia Cup 2018 match between Afghanistan and India in Dubai in September 2018, Mohammad Shahzad hit a crucial century. Afghanistan elected to bat first. While wickets kept falling from the other end, opener Shahzad hung in there. From 82/4, Shahzad, along with Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi, took the score to 180/6. Shahzad scored 124 runs in 116 balls (11x4, 7x6). Nabi, too, scored 64 in 56. Afghanistan ended up at 252/8. India was cruising along while chasing as they needed just a run in 2 balls with one wicket in hand. Rashid Khan took the last wicket, and the match was tied.

5. Mohammad Shahzad (118 Versus Canada)

Afghanistan toured UAE in 2010, where they played a 2-match ODI series against Canada. In the 1st ODI at Sharjah, while batting first, Afghanistan didn’t have a good start. They lost Karim Sadiq in the 4th over at a score of 6. But then, Mohammad Shahzad and Noor Ali Zadran joined hands to torment the Canada bowlers. For the 2nd wicket, the duo added 205 runs, with Shahzad scoring a 121-ball-118. The 2nd wicket partnership helped Afghanistan post a strong 289/6. In reply, Canada scored 288 and lost the match by the barest of margins.

6. Usman Ghani (118 Versus Zimbabwe)

Usman Ghani showed a batting masterclass in the 2nd ODI against Zimbabwe in 2014 at Bulawayo. On the one hand, Ghani was hanging in and fighting it out, while the batsmen on the opposite end failed to capitalize on their starts. He scored a century to become the second-youngest to score an ODI hundred. He got out on 118, but not before helping his team post a decent 256/7. However, his century went in vain as Zimbabwe comfortably chased down the target in 43.3 overs, losing two wickets.

7. Mohammad Nabi (116 Versus Zimbabwe)

In the 2nd ODI against Zimbabwe in 2015 at Bulawayo, Afghanistan rode on a 2nd-wicket partnership between Mohammad Nabi and Noor Ali Zadran and late cameos by Samiullah Shinwari and Rashid Khan to post a fighting 271/6. With the help of 3 fours and six sixes, Nabi scored 116 off 121. In reply, Afghan bowlers combined to restrict Zimbabwe to 213 to win the match by 58 runs.

8. Karim Sadiq (114 Versus Scotland)

Karim Sadiq was part of the thrashing Afghanistan handed to Scotland in the first ODI in 2010 at Ayr. Afghanistan bowlers suffocated the Scottish batters to a modest 224/9. After that, it was the ball kissing the boundaries. After Afghanistan lost an early wicket at just 7, Sadiq and Mohammad Shahzad shared an unbeaten 218-run stand for the 2nd wicket. Sadiq laced his 114-run knock with 11 fours and three sixes. Shahzad, too, scored a 72-ball-100, as Afghanistan won the match by nine wickets with 19 overs to spare.

9. Noor Ali Zadran (114 Versus Canada)

In a closely contested match, every run matters. In the First ODI between Afghanistan and Canada at Sharjah in 2010, the 2nd wicket-stand between Mohammad Shahzad and Zadran helped Afghanistan get over the line, as they won the match by just a run. Zadran scored a crucial 114 off 127 balls (10x4, 2x6).

10. Rahmat Shah (114 Versus Zimbabwe)

In this 1st ODI between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, Afghans chose to bat. Riding on Rahmat Shah’s brilliant 114 (8x4, 4x6) and Najibullah Zadran’s 51-ball-81, Afghanistan posted mammoth 333/5. In reply, Rashid Khan recorded 4/26 to restrict Zimbabwe to 179.