Afghanistan and Ireland in India, 3 T20I Series, 2019
Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun
Date & Time: 21 February 2019
RR: 7.03 | Afghanistan beat Ireland by 5 wickets
That is it from the first T20I. Afghanistan should have won and Afghanistan have won. But not without huffing and puffing. Some poor shot selection almost cost them the match, something they would be wanting to get rid of, before the second game. Ireland, well, they just need to play spin better. How can they achieve it is something debatable but they have to find an answer somehow. They do not have too much time to do it, for the second T20I is not far off - scheduled on Saturday, February 23, at 6.30 pm local (1300 GMT). Join us then. ADIOS! TAKE CARE!
Asghar Afghan says that the first game of a series is very important and is extremely happy to be 1-0 up. Admits that the top order played some poor shots and credits the middle order for stepping up as the last time, the middle order had a lot of pressure. On the squad, Afghan says that he would like to win the series first and then give opportunities to the rest of the players.
Mohammad Nabi has been named the Man Of The Match. Says that as a batting side, Afghanistan were under pressure at 50/5 but he just focussed on playing normal cricket, taking singles, score 4-5 runs per over and take it till the end. Admits that sometimes the arm ball works on this type of a pitch.
Paul Stirling feels that they did not have a good score on the board. Though, he feels that at the halfway mark, they had a slight chance. Praises Afghanistan for fighting hard. Laments the loss of Stuart Thompson in the middle of the chase but does not look too seriously into the injury. Informs that an assessment will be taken on Friday morning.
Earlier in the match, Ireland opted to bat on what seemed like a flat track but did not counter the dew. In any which ways, they needed a minimum of 160-170 to stand a chance but they had no answer to the guile of Nabi, the spin of Rashid or the cunningness of Mujeeb. It is like answering Maths, Social Studies and Language on the same day of your board exam. All the best then. Please stay tuned for the presentation...
Coming to Ireland, they thought they were in the game but in reality, they weren't. They were just given some false hope. With the pitch not offering much and plenty of dew around, defending modest totals was always going to be difficult and so good is this Afghan batting line-up that they bat at least till number 10. Shane Getkate tried his best and so did Little but there was little that even the two combined could do.
Nabi and Zadran just illustrated that T20 is not about just boundary-hitting. They came together in the 8th over and did not score a single boundary till the 13th over. After settling down, they played their strokes, which is ideally the way the top order should have played too. As they say, experience cannot be bought or sold.
Comfortable win for the 'hosts.' We can go all ga-ga about the calmness instilled by Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran but to be honest, it was nothing but shoddy batting from the top order. Just throwing their wickets away and giving Ireland a hope of winning this.
Last over. 1 needed. Chase to bowl.
Joshua Little is back on. 2-0-6-1 so far.
Peter Chase is back into the attack.
George Dockrell comes on at last.
Hamid Hassan on air informs us that it has been 45 balls since a boundary has been scored. Adds further that he is very surprised as he reckons, AFGHANISTAN ONLY LOVES BOUNDARIES. Roger that, shouldn't we?
Simi Singh will bowl the remainder of the over. Meanwhile, the groundstaff takes the opportunity to sweep the ground with the dew rope. Plenty of moisture on the outfield.
Some issues here for Thompson. He is clutching his hamstring. He tries walking a bit, but then calls for the physio. This is not looking good. STUART THOMPSON IS WALKING OFF.
Najibullah Zadran walks in. This is not done yet. The batting keeps on coming...
Shane Getkate into the attack as well.
Sharafuddin Ashraf walks in at number 6, replacing Shinwari. Stuart Thompson into the attack as well.
C'mon! Hello! Can you see me? The umpire is frantically signalling towards the groundstaff for some sawdust. Around 7-8 people are standing, looking at the action but not a soul is interested in obeying. Okay. Finally someone comes. A bit of sawdust sprinkled around the bowler's runup.
Joshua Little is back on. 1-0-5-0 so far.
Mohammad Nabi walks in at number 5, replacing Janat. Meanwhile, Peter Chase changes ends as well. 1-0-4-1 so far.
Karim Janat walks in at number 4, replacing Zazai.
Change of ends for Boyd Rankin. 1-0-16-0 so far.
Joshua Little into the attack now.
Samiullah Shinwari walks in at number 3, replacing his skipper.
Peter Chase to bowl from the other end.
Welcome back for the run chase. 133 to win for Afghanistan to go 1-0 up. What are the chances of a road blockage? Hazratullah Zazai and Asghar Afghan will open for the 'home' side. Boyd Rankin will start off proceedings. Zazai to face. Here we go...