IRELAND will face a decider against Afghanistan on Monday after spurning a couple of gilt-edged chances to wrap up their three-match T20 international series in Sharjah.

The Boys in Green had their fiercest rivals rocking on 14-4 only for long-time nemesis Mohammad Nabi to mount a rescue operation that helped post a competitive 152-9.

After Ireland had reached 51-1 in the powerplay, Rashid showed why he is the world’s best white-ball bowler with a stunning 4-14 from four overs, including the big prize of Harry Tector who was bowled through the gate first ball.

Gareth Delany smashed 39 from 18 balls, including four sixes, at the death to take his side close, but 18 from the final over was beyond him and Ireland finished on 142-8, to lose by 10 runs.

“We seem to cough up these great games out of nowhere and I’m actually pleased with how we performed, although there are a couple of things to work on,” skipper Paul Stirling said.

It had all started so well with the new-ball attack again running amok - Josh Little took a wicket in each of his first two overs, either side of Mark Adair grabbing two in two balls, as the stunned hosts lost four wickets in 22 deliveries.

It should have been five as Adair somehow rattled Sediqullah Atal’s off stump without dislodging a bail, and the opener took advantage of his luck to add 79 from 57 balls with - who else? - Nabi, to get the innings back on track.

The 39-year-old, who has been tormenting Ireland by fair means and foul for 15 years, holed out to leg-spinner Ben White for a top score of 59 and Ireland briefly regained control before a Rashid cameo of 25 from 12 balls.

The Ireland openers added a rapid 49 in reply, but Stirling was bowled for 24, and the last realistic hope was gone when partner Andy Balbirnie was unlucky to be adjudged lbw sweeping on 45 when he clearly gloved the ball.