Paul Stirling had to settle for second best against Afghanistan in Sharjah as Ireland were comprehensively outplayed in the final T20 international, losing it by 57 runs and the hard-fought series 2-1.

The Boys in Green were on the back foot from the moment skipper Stirling lost the toss because the team batting first had won the first two matches in the series, and did so again with some ease after posting 155-7.

Josh Little was the pick of the Ireland bowlers with 1-27 from his four overs while leg-spinner Ben White again impressed and was denied a second wicket when he was wrongly called for a no-ball by the umpire who made the same mistake on Friday.

Wary of the Afghan spinners, Ireland took an ultra-aggressive approach early in the chase and paid heavily for it, with Andy Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker bowled at the start of the second over, and Paul Stirling having his furniture likewise re-arranged in the next.

Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany briefly sparkled, clearing the ropes three times in a sixth-wicket partnership of 36 runs from 19 balls, but both holed out in the deep, and Ireland were bowled out for 98 in the 18th over.

“We were beaten by the better side tonight,” Stirling admitted.

While it was a disappointing end to the four-week tour, Stirling and coach Heinrich Malan will be happy with the way the team is shaping up, three months ahead of the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies.

Mark Adair and Little are a lethal opening attack, especially if there is early movement, White is adding consistency to his leg-spinning threat and Harry Tector is a world class performer in a settled batting order.