Afghanistan clinch T20 series
Boyd Rankin was the star turn with the ball for Ireland on his club ground at Bready last night but the big man from Co Tyrone could not prevent Afghanistan easing to a second victory by 81 runs to claim the three-match T20 international series with a game to spare.
Fast bowler Rankin has had to wait until his 114th international to make a first appearance for Ireland in the village where he learnt his cricket and he did the Boys in Green proud with a sharp four overs that delivered excellent figures of 2-14.
Left-armer George Dockrell also tied down the visitors, taking 1-19 from his set of four, but as a unit the Ireland bowlers were unable to keep a grip, and after wobbling at 14-2 after four overs Afghanistan still reached a respectable 42-2 at the end of the six overs powerplay.
Teenager Josh Little was typical of the inconsistency of the attack, conceding just a single from his first over then 19 from his next as Hazrat Zazai followed up his 74 on Monday with 82 from 54 balls in an Afghan total of 160-8.
Superb After key man Paul Stirling was caught in the second over for two, the Ireland chase failed to get going and fell well woefully short in the face of superb spin bowling from Rashid Khan and Mujeeb, despite a defiant top score of 33 from former skipper William Porterfield.
Rankin had the satisfaction of hitting Rashid, the world's best T20 bowler, for a mighty six over cow corner but he was bowled next ball and when Peter Chase was dismissed three balls later Ireland were all out for 79.
Speaking after the match, Gary Wilson was asked if the toss was a crucial factor:
"I don't think when you lose by 81 runs you can point to the toss. Perhaps if you have a 20 run loss or a 10 run loss you could have said batting second was the harder dig. We would've batted had we won the toss, as early on was the best time to bat.
"The boys will be hurting in there and know that that's not good enough. When we all come to practice tomorrow I'll expect everyone to be back up and giving 100%."
Hometown star Boyd Rankin said:
"At half-time I was saying it was probably about par score. We could have restricted them to 130-140 if we bowled a little better. Our plans were to get Zazai early, but that hasn't happened the last two games. I think we contained him pretty well in the first six but obviously we didn't get him out.
"We needed to get off to a good start, but didn't get that losing three early wickets. Once that happened it makes it difficult for the lads coming in with the run rate climbing. It was one of those days where we kept losing wickets and never got a partnership going.
"I think it will be good to come back and get a win in that final T20 on Friday going into the one-day internationals next week - it'll give us a bit of confidence. It was close on Monday, but it was their day today - that seems to be the way T20s go, but hopefully we can come back and put it right on Friday.
"[Playing at Bready] was obviously really special for me. It was touch-and-go playing here, but it was very nice to be able to play my first proper game here and it was good to get a good crowd at home."
- Boyd Rankin leaps into action
- Boyd Rankin delivery
- Boyd Rankin follow through
- Full marks! 3 out of 3
- Mo Shahzad cuts square.
- Shahzad slices Simi Singh to short third man...
- ...where a tall man holds the catch!
- Peter Chase in action
- Peter Chase bowling
- Peter Chase
- Shenwari pulls Chase to deep square...
- ...Dockrell has held the catch - Congratulations
- Asghar Afghan clips though mid on
- Afghan fans show their support
- Ashgar lofts for a boundary
- Josh Little's yorker nearly beats Zazai....
- ....and Little wonders why it didn't!
- Boyd Rankin bowled four overs and took 2-14
- Calypso from Asghar Afghan
- George Dockrell bowling
- Attempted lap from Asghar Afghan
- Low full toss from Dockrell to Hazratullah Zazai....
- ....is swung into the deep....
- ...where Singh holds the catch...
- ...Wilson delighted to see the back of Zazai...
- Happy Ireland
- Asghar launches Little to midwicket....
- ....where Dockrell holds the catch BUT..... No-Ball checked ...
- 'Honest Mark that's where I put it!'....
- ...TV confirms and umpire Hawthorne conveys the news to Asghar
- Big 6 from Mohammad Nabi
- Straight up from Shafiqullah...
- ...and it's caught & bowled Chase
- Nabi hits Chase back straight
- Nabi hits Rankin to long on...
- ...were Thompson is waiting
- Rashid Khan slices Rankin to Balbirnie at extra cover
- Aftab Alam in the air...
- ...great running catch from Balbirnie.
- Close call as Paul Stirling nearly chops on
- Stirling hits Alam ....
- ...but weakly to mid on...
- ...and Rashid Khan throws up the ball in delight...
- Afghans celebrate as Stirling departs
- Mujeeb Ur Raman opened with spin...
- Back of the hand this one!....
- ...and Thompson has hit it to Nabi at Long on
- ..and Raman has claimed Balbirnie first ball caught and bowled!
- Reverse sweep from Gary Wilson brings a boundary
- Porterfield through the covers
- Mohammad Nabi bowling
- Nabi to Porterfield
- Porterfield reverse sweeps Rashid Khan but in the air....
- ...and Aftab Alam has held the catch...
- ...cue Afghan celebrations
- 'Don't think you picked that one Kevin.'
- Wilson hits Nabi into the players enclosure
- Fareed Ahmad back to his mark
- Kevin O'Brien skies Fareed Ahmad....
- ...and sub fielder Usman Ghani holds the catch
- Simi Singh bowled round his legs by Nabi...
- ..Nabi unmoved as Singh considers his mistake
- Rashid Khan to finish things off...
- Gary Wilson is bowled
- Rashid Khan collects the wicket of Gary Wilson
- All in a day's work for Khan it seems
- Dockrell drives back past Khan
- Mujeeb's 'other' one?
- Six from Rankin...
- ..but Rashid Khan has his revenge
- Khan will finish with 4-17 off three overs...
- ....once he has Chase caught....
- ...by a tumbling Mohammad Nabi - all over!