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Ian Callender

Ireland gained a morale boosting six wicket win over Afghanistan to register their first win in the warm up phase of the World Cup Qualifiers.

The star of the show was Regan West, a last minute replacement for the game after Kyle McCallan failed a late fitness test on a chest injury, sustained during practice last week.

The left arm spinner had the excellent analysis of 4 for 11 in 9 overs, as Ireland's opponents failed to show the kind of form which had seen them earn successive triumphs in World Cricket League Divisions five through to three.

The Afghans had started confidently enough reaching 69 for 2, before West and Peter Connell combined to reduce them to just 86 all out in 33.4 overs, as their batting frailties re-emerged to see them lose their last 8 wickets for just 17 runs.

Mohammad Shehzad (36), top scored for Afghanistan. with the only notable support coming from Noor Ali Noori who made 21. The other 9 batsmen managed just 20 between them as they struggled to cope with the pace and guile of the Irish attack.

Peter Connell (3-24), Trent Johnston (2-21), and Alex Cusack (1-12) were the other wicket takers, as Ireland finally started to show the sort of form which has made them one of the tournament favourites.

In reply Ireland lost skipper William Porterfield for just 7 with the total on 10, and when Gary Wilson (10) departed soon after, Ireland were 25 for 2.

Eoin Morgan made unlucky 13, while Andrew White scored 17 before departing with victory in sight. Indeed, after White was dismissed Kevin O'Brien struck his first delivery to the boundary as Ireland passed their total in just 22.2 overs.

Clontarf all-rounder Andrew Poynter hit an unbeaten 38 to further his claim for a place in the starting XI next when the tournament starts in earnest.

Khaleqdaad Noori (3-22) was the most successful of the Afghanistan attack which battled bravely despite defending a relatively modest target.

There continues to be serious doubt about the fitness of both Andre Botha and Kyle McCallan for the opening clash with Scotland on Wednesday, which would be a serious blow to Ireland's hopes of securing a World Cup qualification place.

Ireland finish their warm up fixtures with a fixture against The UAE in Pretoria on Sunday.