Afghanistan in Ireland, 2 ODI Series, 2019
Venue: Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast
Date & Time: 21 May 2019
RR: 4.33 | Afghanistan beat Ireland by 126 runs
The two skippers now are handed over the trophy which they share for drawing the series 1-1. They smile and pose for the shutterbugs. This has been a short but wonderful series. Ireland will now wait for Zimbabwe to come and visit them while Afghanistan head over to England and Wales for the Cricket World Cup! It has been wonderful covering this series. Hope you enjoyed following it too. Until next time which will be during the World Cup warm-ups, goodbye, take care and cheers!
Victorious Afghanistan skipper, Gulbadin Naib thanks the almighty first for a perfect finish to the series. Feels they played a really good game today as a team. He credits Ireland for a really perfect game on Sunday but credits his team now for turning it around today and performing to the best of their abilities. Looking ahead to the World Cup, the skipper feels it is a big tournament coming up and reckons this was good practice for them before that. He signs off by praising Shahzad, Rahmat and Najibullah Zadran who played really well today.
Ireland skipper, William Porterfield says that Afghanistan did the basics well for longer periods in the game, which was the reason they won. He mentions that he expected the pitch to have a bit more for the bowlers early on but also did not think that it will be difficult for batting. He admits that the series between these two sides have been really tight since Dehra Dun and even here. Signs off by saying that it was nice to give some game time to lots of young players.
Player of the series, Paul Stirling says that it is nice to win this trophy but it would have been even nicer had they won the game. Mentions they wanted to perform better and are disappointed with today's result. Informs that they did not get any partnership going during the chase and that made it difficult for them.
Coming to the bowling performance, one man stood out. It was the captain, Gulbadin Naib. He was terrific with his line and length and ended up picking 6 for 43, his best-ever figures in ODIs and the 3rd best ever by an Afghan bowler. Dawlat Zadran, Rahmat Shah and Aftab Alam picked up one wicket each too. Thus with this commanding bowling performance, it was a stroll in the park for the Afghan side in their last official ODI before the World Cup. The presentation to follow...
With 305 on the board, Afghanistan started bowling with a big cushion. They removed the opener, James McCollum early once more and even though Paul Stirling held up one end, they kept chipping away at the wickets' column on the other end. Stirling too fell soon after getting to 50 and when the experienced duo of Kevin O'Brien and William Porterfield did not do much, the writing was always on the wall. Wilson delayed the inevitable with the tail being around him for a bit but in the end, they succumbed to a huge loss with more than 8 overs left!
These two teams were inseparable when they met in India earlier this year and here too, they have shared an ODI series. After the commanding performance from Ireland in the first ODI, Afghanistan have stormed back with a comprehensive win over them in the second. It has been a brilliant bowling performance in defense of a total that always seemed to be a bit too much for the hosts to chase. The skipper picked up 6 wickets and led from the front as they bowled out Ireland for just 179!
Powerplay 3 signalled by the umpire. Now 5 fielders can be outside the 30-yard circle till the end of the match. Also, Rashid Khan is back.
Boyd Rankin is the last man in.
Tim Murtagh walks out to bat next.
Pace from both ends now, the skipper comes back on.
Dawlat Zadran is back on.
Drinks break! Afghanistan in supreme command of this defense. They are 3 wickets away from bowling out Ireland and salvaging a game in this series. The home side look all but down in this game and it looks like a near-to-impossible task for them here. They would love to delay the inevitable as long as possible.
Barry McCarthy is the new man in.
Change of ends for Rashid Khan.
Rahmat Shah comes on to bowl now.
The new man in is Mark Adair.
Andy McBrine comes in at number 7, replacing Porterfield.
Aftab Alam is back on.
STAT ALERT - Paul Stirling becomes the first-ever player from Ireland to have made four consecutive 50-plus scores. It is also the third time a batsman has done so in 2019, with de Kock and du Plessis having done so already this year. Quinton de Kock in fact, made 5 in row!
Gary Wilson walks in at number 6, replacing O'Brien.
Rashid Khan has been introduced into the attack.
Drinks Break! Two quick wickets just before the break has seen Afghanistan bounce back strongly in the game. They now are in the driver's seat with Rashid Khan yet to come on to bowl. The set batsman in Paul Stirling has been dismissed and it will take a really good partnership now between the two new batsmen in the middle to take Ireland close to their target now. It is William Porterfield who will be partnered now by Kevin O'Brien, the latter to face after the break.
The captain brings himself on. Gulbadin Naib into the attack.
POWERPLAY 2 time. 4 fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle till the 40th over. Aftab Alam into the attack now.
Andy Balbirnie is the new man in at number 3, replacing McCollum.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman to take the second new ball and bowl from the other end.
We are back for the chase. The umpires walk out to the middle. Followed by Afghanistan players. Paul Stirling and James McCollum are the openers for Ireland. The first new ball is in the hands of Dawlat Zadran.