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Khan the Man

Afghanistan rang the changes for the final game of the series leaving out Janat, Shinwari, Malik and most significantly mystery spinner Mujeeb who has traditional opened the bowling for them giving a first cap to seamer Zia-ur-Rahman while for Ireland a fit again Stuart Thompson replaced Lorcan Tucker.

A brave decision by Irish skipper Stirling to ask Afghanistan to bat given the fireworks of yesterday but it seemed to be paying off as Rankin claimed both yesterday's heroes Ghani and Zazai within five overs albeit having scored 57.

It was however that man Mohammad Nabi who so often has been a thorn in Ireland's side who set about the bowling scoring 81 off 36 balls (6x4 7x6) and dominated partnerships with Zadran and Shafiqullah towards the end of the innings.

Afghanistan added 99 off the final seven overs of their innings to set a target that they would be confident of defending most days.

In Mujeeb's absence Ireland's reply started with a flurry of boundaries but Stirling fell mistiming a drive and failing to clear Afghan captain Asghar at mid on.

O'Brien and Balbirnie took the score to 100/1 after ten overs before the appearance of Rashid Khan who traditionally puts the brakes on any opposition's scoring rate.

Balbirnie (46) and O'Brien (74) added 96 in total but inevitably it was Rashid Khan who claimed the vital wicket of O'Brien caught behind off a bottom edge as he made room to drive through the off side.

Dockrell perished in the deep, Getkate was stranded down the pitch and Singh played across a leg break as Khan claimed a hat trick to emphasise his value to the side.

Ireland finished on 178-8 unable to break the strangle-hold that the Afghan spinners can exert in this format.

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