IRE vs AFG: Ireland's rise in the shortest format continues, problems in abundance for Afghanistan
The year 2022 has been extremely kind to Ireland as they continue to rise higher and higher with each passing day in the international cricket arena. Seeing the kind of form they are in right now, it can be certainly said that they might just pull off one or two heists and cause upset in the upcoming T20I World Cup that will be played in Australia later this year. Before this, Ireland played India and New Zealand and they looked extremely meticulous against these two giant sides. Looking at the upcoming ICC event that is just two months away, the majority of the international teams are busy playing bilateral series which is allowing them to determine their best playing eleven and put their plans in place. In a similar kind of event, Afghanistan has visited Ireland and they are scheduled to play a 5 match T20I series.
Afghanistan's captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss and decided to bat first in the series opener. Courtesy of the genius that Rashid Khan is, Nabi had all the reasons to think that they will defend whatever they manage to score. The visitors did not start too well as they lost their opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz while he was batting on 26 off 22 deliveries. On the other hand, Gurbaz's dismissal hardly had any effect on Usman Ghani who went on to score 59 off 42 deliveries. Ireland pacer Barry McCarthy dismissed both the Afghanistan openers and somehow helped the scales tilt towards his team. Apart from Ghani, most of the Afghanistan batsmen perished on a meager score. Hashmatullah Shahidi departed on 11 and was followed by Najibullah Zadran who could manage to score just 15 runs off 10 deliveries. The Afghanistan skipper too had a dismal outing with the bat as he fell prey to George Dockrell while he was batting on just 5 runs. The visitors had some kind of solace with Ibrahim Zadran walking out and guiding his team to 168.
The score that Afghanistan set for Ireland seemed to be a very decent one till the time the hosts came out to bat. Irish swashbuckler and their opener Paul Stirling scored 31 off 29 runs as he partnered with skipper Andrew Balbirnie who scored 51 off 38 deliveries with 5 fours and 1 six. Surprisingly Rashid Khan had no impact on the game as he could scalp only 1 wicket in his quota of four overs. Keeping up with Stirling and Balbirnie's exploits, wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker too scored a half-century which helped his side to register a victory by a margin of 7 wickets.
Ireland XI: Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie(c), Lorcan Tucker(w), Harry Tector, Gareth Delany, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Mark Adair, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Joshua Little
Afghanistan Playing XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi(c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi
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