Afghanistan and Ireland in India, 3 T20I Series, 2019

Afghanistan vs Ireland - 1st T20I

Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun

Date & Time: 21 February 2019

Afghanistan 136/5

RR: 7.03 | Afghanistan beat Ireland by 5 wickets

commentary

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.

19.2
4
P Chase to M Nabi, HIGH, HIGH, HIGH BUT NOT A SIX! Nabi does not get a 50 but AFGHANISTAN WIN. Full and outside off, Nabi backs away and goes for the glory shot, being on 45, targetting the long off boundary. He skies this miles in the air but unfortunately for him, the ball just lands inside the ropes! Stranded on 49 but a victory for his side.
19.1
0
P Chase to M Nabi, That ball has taken the inside edge onto the pads.

Last over. 1 needed. Chase to bowl.

18.6
1
B Rankin to M Nabi, The batsman gets an inside edge on that which goes fine down the leg side. The batsmen have run through for a single.
18.5
0
B Rankin to M Nabi, The batsman tries to pull that one but failed to connect it.
18.4
6
B Rankin to M Nabi, SIX! That is so sweet! Full and outside off, Nabi backs away and drives this without any effort way over extra cover!
18.3
0
B Rankin to M Nabi, PARTNER-KILLER! Oh dear... you wouldn't want to do that, would you? Full and around middle, Nabi backs away and throws the kitchen sink at this. Hits this hard down the ground but Najibullah comes in his way. Is hit flush on the arm. The batsman deflects it off and smiles. The umpire smiles too because had Zadran not come in the way, the ball would have hit the umpire instead.
18.2
0
B Rankin to M Nabi, Full and around off, Nabi looks to defend but the ball squirts off the inside edge to short fine leg.
18.1
1
B Rankin to N Zadran, Works it down the leg side for a single.
17.6
0
J Little to M Nabi, Defended off the back foot by the batsman.
17.5
1
J Little to N Zadran, Bounced short, pulled through mid-wicket for a run.
17.4
1
J Little to M Nabi, Driven through mid off by the batsman. One run added to the total.
17.3
1
J Little to N Zadran, Another leading edge, lands safely again. Single taken off the flick.
17.2
4
J Little to N Zadran, FOUR! My dad always says that fighting scenes in old Bollywood movies towards the climax are kind of free for all. Just now, remembered that saying. With the match about to come to a close, both the batsmen are going for broke. A length ball, around middle, cleanly swung over mid-wicket for a boundary.
17.1
0
J Little to N Zadran, Outside off, a swing and a miss.
16.6
2
B Rankin to M Nabi, TOP EDGE, SAFE AGAIN! A full ball, around middle, MN gets across to flick but plays all around it, due to the late outswing. The ball goes off the leading edge towards third man where two fielders make a total mess of it. Or almost. Two runs taken. 10 from this one, 25 from the last 2.
16.5
0
B Rankin to M Nabi, A short ball, around off, Nabi looks to pull but misses and is hit on the arm.
16.4
0
B Rankin to M Nabi, Full and outside off, driven straight to mid off.
16.3
4
B Rankin to M Nabi, FOUR! Oh yes... this is surely catapulting now. Full and on middle, Nabi backs away and bang. Hammers it down the ground and beats a poor diving long on.
16.2
2
B Rankin to M Nabi, Played through mid-wicket by the batsman. The batsmen have picked up a couple of runs.
16.1
2
B Rankin to M Nabi, TOP EDGE, SAFE! Full and outside off, Nabi swings hard but gets a top edge. Luckily for him, it lands safely, wide of deep backward point. Two runs taken.
15.6
6
J Little to N Zadran, SIX! Over the ropes! Ha ha ha... going in for a quick finish? A short ball, around middle, Najibullah swivels and pulls it over deep backward square leg! 15 from the over and I daresay, it is game over for Ireland. 26 needed from the final 4.
15.5
0
J Little to N Zadran, The batsman shows the full face of the bat and defends the ball off the back foot.
15.4
0
J Little to N Zadran, Looks for another swing but is beaten by the lack of bounce. The ball does not carry to the keeper.
15.3
4
J Little to N Zadran, FOUR! Swung and swung hard! A length ball, around off, Zadran swings it wide of mid-wicket and beats the fielder in the deep! 50-RUN STAND COMES UP AS WELL! 100 is up for Afghanistan too. 32 needed from 27 now. Surely coasting...
15.2
1
J Little to M Nabi, Outside off, driven through mid off for a single.
15.1
4
J Little to M Nabi, FOUR! Welcome back into the attack! Full and outside off, Nabi drives this beautifully, wide of mid off and gets a boundary!

Joshua Little is back on. 2-0-6-1 so far.

14.6
1
P Chase to M Nabi, Works it with soft hands wide of long on and crosses over. 8 runs from the over without any risk.
14.5
2
P Chase to M Nabi, Full and outside off, eased through the covers for a brace. The stand moves to 41 from 45 balls. Nabi moves to 21 from 22.
14.4
1
P Chase to N Zadran, Dropped short, pulled to deep mid-wicket for a single.
14.3
2
P Chase to N Zadran, Works this down the leg side for a couple.
14.2
1
P Chase to M Nabi, A lovely delivery, coming in with the angle from outside off, Nabi misses his flick and is hit on the pads. Chase screams his lungs out in an LBW appeal but there seemed to be two sounds there. The umpire does not give any signal when the batsmen take a single. He too thinks that there was wood.
14.1
0
P Chase to N Zadran, That has hit him on the knee. Around leg stump, Zadran misses his tuck and the ball goes past the pad and hits him on the inner half of the knee. Deflects towards square leg and the batsmen cross over. Actually he limps across to the other end.

Peter Chase is back into the attack.

13.6
1
S Getkate to N Zadran, Another cutter, played with a loose bottom hand towards long on for a run. That is not a bad comeback at all from Getkate - 6 from the first 3, just 1 from the next 3. He finishes with figures of 4-0-21-1. 49 more needed from 36 balls. Najibullah moves to 20 from 24 balls.
13.5
0
S Getkate to N Zadran, Slower ball, around off, Najibullah is earlier into his punch and mistimes it back to the bowler.
13.4
0
S Getkate to N Zadran, Yorker outside off, or say, just short of it, pushed towards cover.
13.3
1
S Getkate to M Nabi, Works it through mid-wicket for a run.
13.2
4
S Getkate to M Nabi, FOUR! Easily done. Poor bowling, short and waist-high on a slow pitch, Nabi just uses his experience and maturity to swivel and direct the ball to the backward square leg fence. It was a pull but not full-blooded.
13.1
1
S Getkate to N Zadran, Full and around middle, Zadran drives it straight back. Getkate gets a hand to it but diverts it to long off. A single taken and the bowler is annoyed with himself.
12.6
0
G Dockrell to M Nabi, Outside off, another missile, Nabi looks to cut but misses.
12.5
1
G Dockrell to N Zadran, Played to the mid-wicket region by the batsman. One run added to the total.
12.4
0
G Dockrell to N Zadran, Fired in quicker outside off, Najibullah looks to flick but gets a leading edge towards point.
12.3
4
G Dockrell to N Zadran, FOUR! A BOUNDARY AFTER 46 BALLS! That will come as a can of oxygen supply to the Afghans. Short and outside off, Zadran goes back and cuts it through point. There is no one square on the off side and by the time sweeper gets around, it is too late!
12.2
2
G Dockrell to N Zadran, Full and around leg, worked through mid-wicket with soft hands for a well-run couple.
12.1
0
G Dockrell to N Zadran, Landed outside off, steered straight to backward point.

George Dockrell comes on at last.

11.6
1
S Getkate to N Zadran, Full and outside off, driven through mid off for a run.
11.5
0
S Getkate to N Zadran, Outside off, pushed straight to point.

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?

11.4
2
S Getkate to N Zadran, Overpitched outside off, driven through the covers for a couple.
11.3
1
S Getkate to M Nabi, Pushes this through mid on for a run.
11.2
0
S Getkate to M Nabi, Driven through mid on by the batsman. A committed effort by the fielder to save runs for his team.
11.1
1
S Getkate to N Zadran, Full and outside off, punched down to long off for a single.
10.6
0
S Singh to M Nabi, Full and outside off, Nabi gets a long way across to flick but misses and wears it on his pads. There is a massive shout for LBW but the umpire is not interested. Impact was a million miles outside off.
10.5
0
S Singh to M Nabi, Outside off, punched towards long off but short extra cover gets across quickly to his right to stop the ball.
10.4
1
S Singh to N Zadran, Full and down the leg side, flicked through square leg for a single.

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.

10.3
0
S Thompson to N Zadran, Outside off, played straight to point.
10.2
1
S Thompson to M Nabi, Full and outside off, driven through mid off for a run.
10.1
1
S Thompson to N Zadran, Around middle and leg, helped through square leg for a single.
9.6
1
S Getkate to N Zadran, The batsman opens the face of the bat and helps it to third man. They pick up a single.
9.5
0
S Getkate to N Zadran, Full and around off, Zadran looks to drive but is early into the shot. The ball goes off the inner half back to the bowler.
9.5
0
S Getkate to N Zadran, ANOTHER WIDE. Number 7 so far from Ireland. Down the leg side, NZ misses his flick. There comes a noise when the ball goes. past. Did that brush the pad? No idea...
9.4
1
S Getkate to M Nabi, Full and outside off, driven loosely towards long off for one.
9.3
1
S Getkate to N Zadran, Another slower ball, holds off the deck, Zadran is early into his flick and the ball goes off the inner half of the bat, uppishly, wide of short mid-wicket. A single taken.
9.2
1
S Getkate to M Nabi, Around middle and leg, helped through mid-wicket for a run.
9.1
0
S Getkate to M Nabi, Full and around middle, pushed down the ground but short mid-wicket gets across to his left and stops the single.
8.6
1
S Thompson to M Nabi, On middle and leg, flicked through mid-wicket for a run.
8.5
1
S Thompson to N Zadran, The batsman plays it with an angled bat and guides it to third man. They pick up a single.
8.5
0
S Thompson to N Zadran, WIDE. Down the leg side, short in length, Najibullah misses out on the pull. The bowler appeals for the catch but receives no support.
8.4
1
S Thompson to M Nabi, Around middle and off, tucked through square leg for a run. Zadran wants the second but is sent back. Good call. The fielder came in quickly.
8.3
0
S Thompson to M Nabi, Full and outside off, driven straight to point.
8.2
1
S Thompson to N Zadran, Outside off, dabbed to third man for a single.
8.1
0
S Thompson to N Zadran, Around middle and off, solidly defended.
7.6
0
S Getkate to M Nabi, Full and outside off, driven straight to mid off.
7.5
1
S Getkate to N Zadran, Outside off, punched through the off side for a run.
7.4
0
S Getkate to N Zadran, Outside off, played straight to point.
7.3
1
S Getkate to M Nabi, Around middle and leg, helped towards mid-wicket for a single.

Najibullah Zadran walks in. This is not done yet. The batting keeps on coming...

7.2
0
S Getkate to S Ashraf, OUT! Caught! Get him, mate Getkate! This would have been the warcry from Stirling. And Getkate has got the wicket. Another one goes down. Are we in for an upset? Full and around off, Ashraf looks to flick but is a tad too early into the shot. It is a leg cutter, which does not help his cause either. Induces a leading edge which goes high in the air and surprisingly, carries to deep backward point. Joshua Little takes it with his palms facing skywards. Half the side is down... 83 needed from 76...
7.1
2
S Getkate to S Ashraf, Full and around middle, beautifully timed through mid-wicket with the flick shot earning Ashraf a couple.

Shane Getkate into the attack as well.

6.6
1
S Thompson to S Ashraf, Outside off, finally puts bat to ball, guiding it to third man for a run.
6.5
0
S Thompson to S Ashraf, Appeal for a catch! Turned down. The Irish did seem excited... Similar ball to the previous one, on a length outside off, Sharafuddin went out to play that too but was beaten by the away movement. Nothing much from the replays to give it out...
6.4
0
S Thompson to S Ashraf, Outside off, on a length, Ashraf feels for it but the ball kicks off nowhere and beats the outside edge.
6.3
2
S Thompson to S Ashraf, Landed outside off, steered behind point for a brace.
6.2
1
S Thompson to M Nabi, Pushed to the cover region by the batsman. They pick up a single.
6.1
1
S Thompson to S Ashraf, Outside off, punched through the off side for a single.

Sharafuddin Ashraf walks in at number 6, replacing Shinwari. Stuart Thompson into the attack as well.

5.6
0
J Little to S Shinwari, OUT! Caught! Well, this is some serious competition between the Afghan batsmen to throw their wickets away. A length ball, around middle, Shinwari backs away, aiming to clear the infield but only manages to sky it in the air. He is in no control at all but luck seems to be on his side. It dips onto the fielder but the big man Kevin O'Brien covers good strides to his left, keeps his eyes on the ball and takes a good low catch! 43/4 in the Powerplay for Afghanistan as opposed to 37/2 from the Irish. They just need 90 from 84 balls but are making it look like 190 here...
5.5
0
J Little to S Shinwari, Around middle and off, solidly defended from the crease.
5.4
0
J Little to S Shinwari, Outside off, punched towards mid off.
5.3
0
J Little to S Shinwari, Around off, going away, Shinwari slashes hard but misses.

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.

5.2
0
J Little to S Shinwari, Around middle and leg, worked to the leg side.
5.1
0
J Little to S Shinwari, Outside off, punched off the back foot.
5.1
0
J Little to S Shinwari, A short ball outside off, Shinwari bails out of the pull.

Joshua Little is back on. 1-0-5-0 so far.

4.6
1
P Chase to S Shinwari, The batsman works it down the leg side. They pick up a single. 12 from the over, could have been a double-wicket maiden...
4.5
1
P Chase to M Nabi, Around middle and leg, helped through mid-wicket for a run.
4.4
4
P Chase to M Nabi, EDGED AGAIN, FOUR AGAIN! Does not matter if you are three down. Just throw your bats around. A carbon copy of the Shinwari boundary in this over. Full and wide outside off, like Samiullah, even Nabi throws his bat at that without moving his feet. He too, gets an outside edge. Luck helps him as well, taking the ball over first slip to the third man fence.
4.3
0
P Chase to M Nabi, Full and outside off, pushed straight to cover.
4.2
1
P Chase to S Shinwari, The batsman works it down the leg side. They pick up a single.
4.1
4
P Chase to S Shinwari, EDGED, FOUR! There is no tomorrow for Afghanistan. Every ball has to be hit out of the park. Not totally understandable at this stage. Full and wide outside off, Shinwari throws his bat at it, does not move his feet and the ugly slog results in a thick outside edge. Luckily for him, it flies over the vacant slip cordon to the third man fence.
4.1
0
P Chase to S Shinwari, WIDE. Down the leg side, flick shot missed.

Mohammad Nabi walks in at number 5, replacing Janat. Meanwhile, Peter Chase changes ends as well. 1-0-4-1 so far.

3.6
0
B Rankin to K Janat, OUT! Caught! Second wicket in the over! Boy - are we onto something here? A short ball, outside off, Janat looks to pull but the ball comes on quicker than his anticipation. Takes the top edge but goes nowhere - straight up in the air and George Dockrell takes it calmly at short mid-wicket. Change of ends works for Rankin - 5/2 in this one.
3.5
0
B Rankin to K Janat, The batsman defends it from within the crease.
3.4
0
B Rankin to K Janat, Lovely ball to welcome the newcomer. On a length outside off, Janat plays inside the line and is beaten as the ball moves away late.

Karim Janat walks in at number 4, replacing Zazai.

3.3
0
B Rankin to H Zazai, OUT! Terrific shot but straight to the fielder! Lucky wicket for the bowler. A nothing ball. Short and asked to be smashed, bowled on middle. Hazratullah swivels and pulls hard but finds Stuart Thompson to perfection at deep square leg. A meter either side of him and it would have been a boundary or a six. But...
3.2
1
B Rankin to S Shinwari, The batsman works it down the leg side. The batsmen have run through for a single.
3.1
4
B Rankin to S Shinwari, FOUR! The bowler has changed ends but there has been no change in his bowling. Overpitched outside off, Shinwari drives it down the ground. Paul Stirling dives to his right but only parries it to the fence behind.

Change of ends for Boyd Rankin. 1-0-16-0 so far.

2.6
1
J Little to S Shinwari, Full and outside off, driven towards mid off for a single.
2.5
0
J Little to S Shinwari, Outside off, punched off the back foot.
2.4
0
J Little to S Shinwari, The batsman defends it from within the crease.
2.3
4
J Little to S Shinwari, FOUR! Edged away, but poor piece of fielding. A short ball outside off, bit of width, Shinwari slashes hard and gets a thick outside edge. It flies down to third man where Boyd Rankin gets across, slides but slips due to the excess dew. At least, that is what he seemed to indicate. The ball goes through to the fence.
2.2
0
J Little to S Shinwari, Around off, punched towards the off side where a superb stop is made at gully.
2.1
0
J Little to S Shinwari, A good nut to start. On a good length around off, comes in a long way, Shinwari looks to defend but is cut into half. The ball takes the inside edge, hits him on the pads and goes above the stumps on the bounce to the keeper.

Joshua Little into the attack now.

1.6
0
P Chase to H Zazai, Backs away and punches this straight to point. 4 runs and a wicket from the over, of which, 3 were wides.
1.6
0
P Chase to H Zazai, THIRD WIDE IN THE OVER! This should actually be awarded as two wides, it was that far. Miles down the leg side, Zazai misses his flick and the poor keeper has to dive to his right.
1.5
0
P Chase to H Zazai, Excellent yorker on middle, watchfully dug out to the leg side.
1.5
0
P Chase to H Zazai, ANOTHER WIDE. Another one down the leg side, Hazratullah misses his pull and the ball goes off his pads to the keeper. Unlucky for the bowler.
1.5
0
P Chase to H Zazai, WIDE. Down the leg side, Zazai misses his flick.
1.4
1
P Chase to S Shinwari, Full and around off, driven through mid on for a single.
1.3
0
P Chase to S Shinwari, Around off, defended from the crease.

Samiullah Shinwari walks in at number 3, replacing his skipper.

1.2
0
P Chase to A Afghan, OUT! There goes the first wicket! Afghan is gone. A length ball, outside off, Asghar comes down the track and tries to blast it through the off side. But neither does he go over the top, nor does he keep it down. Simple catch to Shane Getkate.
1.1
0
P Chase to A Afghan, A length ball outside off, Afghan comes down the track and swings wildly but misses.

Peter Chase to bowl from the other end.

0.6
6
B Rankin to H Zazai, SIX! Safe shot. Short of a length delivery, Zazai looks to pull but gets a top edge. It goes to the fielder at deep square leg who goes back to take the catch but steps into the boundary ropes. He throws it after landing into the rope. Big over for Afghanistan. 16 runs came from it.
0.5
4
B Rankin to H Zazai, FOUR! Second boundary of the over. Short of a length delivery, Zazai looks to pull but gets an inside edge towards fine leg for a boundary.
0.4
1
B Rankin to A Afghan, The batsman flicks it away with a wristy shot for a single.
0.3
0
B Rankin to A Afghan, Another short ball, this is outside off, Asghar looks to pull but misses.
0.2
4
B Rankin to A Afghan, FOUR! Superb placement. A slightly short ball, around middle, Afghan gets the first Afghan boundary by pulling this behind square leg. The ball just races away...
0.1
1
B Rankin to H Zazai, A length ball, around middle and leg, Zazai looks to flick but gets a thick inside edge onto his thigh. The ball rolls towards square leg and the batsmen take a single.

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...