Ireland suffer humiliating defeat
Ireland crashed to a comprehensive innings defeat by Afghanistan with a day to spare in their ICup clash in Greater Noida, Delhi.
The loss - only Ireland's third in the 13-year tournament history - means Afghanistan claim the full 20 points on offer, to leapfrog Ireland in pole position in the table with two rounds of matches remaining.
Resuming their first innings on 170 for 7, John Anderson showed the necessary application as he scored an unbeaten 61 from a marathon 175 balls. He has now passed the 50 mark in all five matches he has played in the competition.
He received admirable support from the tail, sharing stands of 43 with Andrew McBrine (18) for the 8th wicket and 41 for the last with Peter Chase (18) as Ireland added 91 to their overnight total taking the innings beyond the scheduled lunch break.
The determination with which the Irish tail had resisted Afghanistan and leg-spinner Rashid Khan - who failed to add to his five wicket tally - offered genuine hope that the Boys In Green could mount a heroic rearguard action.
Alas, it was not to be, as Mohammed Nabi proved to the destroyer-in-chief, taking 6 wickets for 40 runs as Ireland were skittled for just 104 in the second innings.
The dismissals of John Anderson and Ed Joyce in the same Nabi over seemed to knock any residual resistance out of the Irish, with Niall O'Brien and Gary Wilson the joint top scorers with only 15 apiece.
Rashid Khan took 3 for 44 to finish like Nabi with a match haul of eight wickets.
Ireland's next match in the competition is against Netherlands at home in August before they finish with a clash with Scotland in the UAE.
They will now have to rely on results elsewhere, hoping either Hong Kong or UAE can do them a favour if they are to have any hope of retaining their title and going forward to the Test Challenge.
Before then they switch to white ball cricket, facing England in two ODI's at Bristol and Lord's on May 5 and 7.
ICC INTERCONTINENTAL CUP, Greater Noida, Day 3, close
Afghanistan 537/8 dec (138.5 overs; A Stanikzai 145, A Zazai 103*, M Shahzad 85, N Jamal 73, G Dockrell 3-160)
Ireland 261 (91.4 overs; A Balbirnie 62, J Anderson 61, E Joyce 45, Rashid Khan 5-99, Zahir Khan 2-35, Mohammed Nabi 2-45) and 104 (Mohammed Nabi 6-40, Rashid Khan 3-44)
Afghanistan (20 pts) beat Ireland 0 (pts) by an innings and 172 runs.