ANDY McBRINE became the second Ireland spinner to claim a five-fer this week in Abu Dhabi, and Lorcan Tucker followed up with a quality 83, but those career-best efforts were not quite enough to prevent Afghanistan taking the first of three World Cup Super League matches by 16 runs.

McBrine, usually a solid, unspectacular performer, superbly exploited the turn and bounce on offer as he ended Afghanistan’s opening stand of 120 and claimed four more victims in a superb 10 overs, three of them caught at leg gully by Kevin O’Brien.

The Co Tyrone man’s figures of 5-29 are the sixth best by an Ireland bowler in one-day internationals, four places behind Simi Singh who took 5-10 against the United Arab Emirates on Monday. Paul Stirling tops the list with 6-55.

McBrine’s spell reduced the Afghans to 161-5 but a late blast from Rashid Khan, who struck five maximums in a 27-ball half-century, took his side to 287-9, a total that looked more daunting when O’Brien and skipper Andy Balbirnie fell early.

Stirling and Harry Tector added 50 for the third wicket only to depart in the space of three deliveries before Tucker and Curtis Campher picked up where they left off on Monday with a partnership of 86, albeit never quite at the required rate.

Tucker knew he owed his team runs, after dropping Afghanistan centurion Rahmanullah Gurbaz when the teenage debutant was on 19, and the Pembroke keeper delivered with three sixes - two off successive balls - before being stumped in the 48th over, to effectively confirm the defeat.

“Some of our guys are still finding their feet at international cricket and they can take a lot of positives from today,” Balbirnie said. “To score 270 on that wicket was good – but in the end it wasn’t enough to win the game.

“We need to be more consistent because we had a lot of starts there, including myself. Their player Gurbaz kicked on and scored a hundred and played really well. That was really the difference between the two sides.”

There were other differences too: Rashid’s late blitz, the quality of the Afghan bowling attack and a six count of 17-4 in favour of the winners. Ireland coach Graham Ford will want to address those issues before the teams meet again in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.