CricketEurope Ireland logo
2019 Miscellaneous
News & Reports Photos Audio

2019 StatsZones
2019 Premier League
Forum
Ireland International Matches Database
Match Report
Nick Royle (Times Ireland)

For Afghanistan, it will be a summer in the spotlight following yesterday's 126-run victory over Ireland in Belfast.

Gulbadin Naib's side levelled the two-match one-day international series between the sides after posting 305-7, the record ODI score at Stormont, then bowling Ireland out for just 179 in 41.2 overs.

Afghanistan now head to Bristol for Friday's warm-up match against Pakistan, ahead of their ICC World Cup campaign opener against Australia, the defending champions, on 1 June.

Ireland, who failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup in England and Wales, must reconcile themselves to a month of domestic cricket and practice nets ahead of a low-key ODI and Twenty20 home series against Zimbabwe, which begins in Bready on 1 July.

Ireland beat Afghanistan by 72 runs in Sunday's opening match, defending an under-par total of 210 by bowling a disciplined line on a green and seaming wicket.

But they were given little chance to repeat the tactic on yesterday's drier, more batsman-friendly track, as Mohammad Shahzad and Rahmat Shah punished any over-pitched or wide deliveries during their second-wicket stand of 150.

Andrew McBrine, the North West Warriors spinner who conceded just 17 runs in 10 overs on Sunday, pegged back the Afghanistan onslaught in the space of just five balls when he dismissed Rahmat, for 62, and Shahzad, for an 88-ball 101, in the 32nd over.

But Najibullah Zadran, who scored the only century of his 56-match ODI career against Ireland in Dehradun in March, upped the scoring rate with a sparkling 60 not out from 33 balls.

The 26-year-old shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 86 in just 53 balls with Hashmatullah Shahidi, who scored 47 from 48 balls.

Ireland were always behind the run-rate, despite a fourth successive half-century from Paul Stirling, the Middlesex opener, who sits eighth in the list of top ODI run-scorers this year.

But when Stirling departed for 50, so too did Ireland's faint hopes of chasing down a 300-plus total on home soil for the first time.

Gulbadin, the Afghanistan captain, took six wickets for 43 runs, his best bowling figures in 55 ODI matches for his country.

"We got out-disciplined in all three aspects of the game," William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, said after the match.

"They did the basics for longer, and that told in the end.

"They showed discipline with the bat, and were able to put big partnerships together, and with the ball, they were able to string it together in good areas for longer."

Photographs
Video
Stormont, Belfast