Well, usually there's something in the game for any cricket aficionado to hold dear from any game. Sadly, this isn't one of those games. In fact, the weather was too harsh to even flip a coin. So a dead-rubber has been dampened further, thanks to the gloomy weather. The ODI series starts on Monday the 27th, so do join us then. For now, it's the comm. crew signs off - it's Rishi, Hari and Akshay waving a forlorn good bye...
"MATCH UPDATE: Due to heavy overnight rain, and a waterlogged, unsafe pitch the match officials have called today's game off. Thank you for your patience but unfortunately the match has been abandoned. #BackingGreen #IREvAFG" - tweets @Irelandcricket.
THE END: Well well well. The worst of news. The match has been called off.
15:33 Local Time, 14:33 GMT, 20:03 IST: The toss was supposed to happen by now. But there was heavy rain since morning and the good news is it has stopped. However, the outfield has taken a beating and the umpires are out to inspect as I type. Hopefully it is all good to get a 20-over game. Fingers crossed!
3:20PM local time: Good afternoon folks, and welcome to Bready, Northern Ireland for the final match of this brief T20 series between Ireland and Afghanistan. Let's start by saying that the hosts have been completely steamrolled in the first two encounters, leaving us with a bit of a dead rubber here today. The Irish have had their moments though; their death bowling, for example, has been effective to say the least as the Afghans have thrown away excellent starts provided by the top-order to come crashing down to earth at the death. However, Ireland's batting, particularly against spin, has been a cause for concern and they will be looking to correct that in this inconsequential match. Let's go ahead and get the ball rolling then. Toss and teams coming up in a bit..
PreviewNovember 30, 2013 - it was on this day that Ireland defeated Afghanistan in a Twenty20 International in Abu Dhabi to defend their T20 WC Qualifiers title. A budding rivalry was already brewing then and this Irish win helped them take a 3-2 lead in terms of head-to-head T20I bragging rights. Fast forward to 2018 and the numbers read 9-3, only that it is in now favour of Afghanistan as Ireland's head-to-head progress has stagnated close to five years back.After about four years of no T20I action between the two sides, the rivalry resumed in January 2017 and ever since then the affairs have been lopsided, mostly because of the arrival of Rashid Khan - the No. 1 ranked T20I bowler at the moment. Losses in the UAE during the Desert T20 Challenge in 2017 was followed by three back-to-back T20I defeats in the bilateral series in Greater Noida, and any hopes of correcting the skewed record washed away for Ireland as they were beaten at their own backyard by a clinical Afghanistan side, who have already clinched the series with one game remaining.Even a consolation victory appears like a far-fetched notion for Ireland at the moment, considering their travails against spin. In the seven matches that Ireland have played against Afghanistan since January 2017, they have lost 59 wickets overall, with Rashid Khan bagging 30 per cent of the wickets. In this series alone, they have lost 12 wickets to the combination of Rashid and Mujeeb ur Rahman, along with two to Mohammad Nabi. That is close to 75 per cent of the wickets they have lost in this series to spin, which clearly suggests that Ireland have a lot of work to do if they are to overcome the Afghanistan challenge.While there were four Ireland batsmen who entered double digits in the first T20I - despite which they ended up 16 short of Afghanistan's total of 160 - it came down to two in the second game. Barring William Porterfield and Gary Wilson, there was hardly any resistance from the Ireland batsmen, who all succumbed to their spin demons to be skittled out for just 79.The visitors do not have too many worries as they look to complete a whitewash. However, it'll do them some good if they address the issue of losing wickets in a heap. Hazratullah Zazai's form - with knocks of 74 off 33 and 82 off 54 - augurs well for the side but the middle order needs to come up with better performances to capitalise on the top order batsman's solid platforms.In the first game, They were 140 for 2 after 14 overs but could add only 20 more in the remaining four overs of the curtailed game, losing five wickets in the process. They were 124 for 2 around the 16th over mark in the second game and ended up losing six more wickets, which prevented them from scoring big in the death although they did manage 36 in the last four. In case of a top order collapse, the middle order comes across as under-equipped at the moment, which might be the focus of Ireland as they look to limit the damage.When: Ireland vs Afghanistan, 3rd T20I - August 24, 2018, 4:00 PM Local timeWhere: Bready Cricket Club, Bready, Northern IrelandWhat to expect: Afghanistan posted totals of 160 in the two games so far, suggesting that the pitch has plenty to offer for the batsmen. Showers are forecast for Friday, which could lead to a curtailed game.Team news:Ireland: Tyrone Kane, David Delany, Andy McBrine and James Shannon were the ones benched for the last game and it remains to be seen if one or more get an opportunity in the dead rubber.Afghanistan: Afghanistan too might look at trying out one or two players from the lot of Usman Ghani, Farid Malik, Gulbadin Naib and Mirwais Ashraf, who were all not part of the eleven for the previous game.What they said:"Not easy whenever you lose a game by 81 runs. We all know it's not good enough, expect everyone to give their 100 per cent on Friday" - Gary Wilson, Ireland captain.
Ireland (From): Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, William Porterfield, Andrew Balbirnie, Gary Wilson(w/c), Kevin O Brien, Simi Singh, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Boyd Rankin, Peter Chase, David Delany, Andy McBrine, James Shannon, Tyrone Kane
Afghanistan (From): Mohammad Shahzad(w), Hazratullah Zazai, Samiullah Shenwari, Asghar Afghan(c), Shafiqullah Shafiq, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fareed Ahmad, Usman Ghani, Mirwais Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Farid Malik