Afghanistan in Ireland, 2 ODI Series, 2019
Venue: Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast
Date & Time: 19 May 2019
RR: 3.86 | Ireland beat Afghanistan by 72 runs
So that is all from here at Stormont! An emphatic victory for the Irish. They will now look to win the 2nd game and seal the series on Tuesday, 21st of May. That game will begin at 1045 local (0945 GMT). Join us for the coverage of the same to find out whether Afghanistan can come back harder in the second game and level in the series or not. Till then it is goodbye from us. Take care and cheers!
Victorious Ireland skipper, William Porterfield says that they have played good cricket in patches over the past month but admits that this was a pleasing performance, especially winning by 70-80 runs. Tells that he has built a good relationship with Stirling over the years and it is always good to bat with him. Mentions that they felt that the score was a bit under par and during the start of the defense, they were not bowling well but came back into the game and won it comprehensively in the end.
Afghanistan skipper, Gulbadin Naib says that the bowlers did their job but their batting was not good. Credits the way Ireland bowled and never let them get away. Also praises Stirling and Porterfield for their stand which took Ireland to that total.
Well, not much cannot be said about the batting of Afghanistan as a highest score of 29 will never be good enough. All the batsmen struggled against the right line and lengths bowled by the Irish bowlers. When you get bowled out and five batsmen get single-digit scores, you are always going to be in trouble. That is exactly what happened and Afghanistan slid to a horrific defeat here in Belfast. The captains' thoughts to follow...
The bowling performance was started off brilliantly by Tim Murtagh and Andy McBrine who bowled economically as well as picked two wickets in their opening spell. There on, the pressure was unrelenting and Mark Adair added the gloss on the performance picking up 4 wickets of his own. Boyd Rankin had a tough opening spell but his captain kept him on and he proved the worth with 3 wickets in the middle stages which put Ireland on the top in this game.
This has been an incredible bowling performance from the hosts but on the other hand, a very poor batting show from the away side, Afghanistan. They never got going in the chase of a total that looked under par on that wicket. They were too cautious in the beginning and lost wickets too while playing extremely slowly. They did have a decent stand in the middle when Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Afghan stitched 54 runs together and brought some hopes of a win back but once that was broken, eventually the pressure got to them and they kept losing wickets post that, crumbling to a defeat. Ireland though must be credited for the right lines and lengths that they bowled, never letting the visitors get any sort of advantage in the chase.
Mark Adair comes back on now.
Aftab Alam walks in at number 10.
Drinks break. Ireland are cruising at the moment. With 91 needed off 107 balls. This is surely Ireland's game to lose now. They are just 3 wickets away from sealing this game here. Dawlat Zadran will walk out to bat after the break.
Rashid Khan walks out to bat.
Gulbadin Naib walks out to bat next.
Kevin O'Brien into the attack now.
Mohammad Nabi needing some attention now after copping a blow on the finger of his right hand.
Boyd Rankin comes on to bowl now.
George Dockrell replaces Andy McBrine.
Mohammad Nabi walks out to bat.
Drinks break! Ireland have choked Afghanistan's chase here and are right on top. Another wicket or two will mean that the visitors will be in extreme trouble. They need a partnership and some boundaries to get them going. The good thing working in their favour is that the total is not a very big one. A very entertaining passage of play lies ahead, who will come on top?
Hashmatullah Shahidi walks out to bat.
Mark Adair is introduced into the attack.
Asghar Afghan is the new man in.
Rahmat Shah walks out at number 3.
We are back for the chase. The Irish players are out on the field and take their fielding positions. Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai are the openers for Afghanistan. Tim Murtagh has one new ball in hand and will bowl the first over.