Afghanistan have added another T20 tournament to their bag after winning the second match against Ireland and now lead the three match series 2-0.
After winning the first match quite convincingly, the Afghans were brimming with confidence coming into this match. Captain Asghar Afghan decided to bat first after winning the toss. It was not a bright start for Afghanistan as Simmi Singh dismissed opener and wicket keeper Mohammed Shahzad in the second over. Shenwari was the second to head towards the pavilion in the following over as Afghanistan were reduced to 8-2. But fortunes changed for the batting side from then. Captain Afghan and opener Zazai started to build a partnership. Hazratullah Zazai looked in supreme form as played the Irish bowlers with ease. Soon he uped the ante. The opener smashed six fours and seven sixes in his knock of 82 from 54 balls. The partnership was finally broken when Dockrell picked up Zazai but he had already done much of the damage. A late flourish from Najibullah helped Afghanistan post a challenging total of 160-8 in their quota of 20 overs. Boyd Rankin was the pick of the bowlers from Ireland as the tall paceman took 2 wickets for just 14 runs.
With the bowling line up that Afghanistan posses it was always going to be an uphill task for Ireland to chase this commendable total. Aftab Alam and Mujeeb ur Rahman were right on the money for Afghanistan. The duo picked up 3 wickets in the first three overs to reduce the hosts to 9-3. The tone of the match was set. There was no respite for the Irish batsmen. One followed another to the pavilion. Mujeeb, Nabi and Fareed picked up another three wickets in quick succession. The stage was set for Rashid Khan to clean up the tail and the mysterious leggie obliged. Rashid picked up four wickets in three overs giving away just 17 runs. The Irish were bowled out for just 79 inside 15 overs. William Porterfield and Gary Wilson were the only batsmen to reach double figures in the innings.
Afghanistan have been in tremendous form in the shortest format of the game this year. They have now won all the seven games they have played this year. The story of Afghanistan cricket has been fantastic. The slow steps they took are now yielding them big results. 2018 also saw them make their test debut in cricket. And the T20 series victory adds more glory to the Nation. With the T20 World Cup next year, it seems Afghanistan are heading on the right track.
Ireland: Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, William Porterfield, Kevin O’Brien, Gary Wilson(C & WK), Andrew Balbirnie, Simmi Singh, Joshua Little, Goerge Dockrell, Peter Chase, Boyd Rankin.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad(WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan (C), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Shamiullah Shenwari, Rashid Khan, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Farheed Ahmad.
Umpires: Paul Reynolds, Mark Hawthrone and Roly Black(TV Umpire).
Afghanistan: 160-8 (20 o.)
Harzatullah Zazai 82(54)
Asghar Afghan 37(34)
Boyd Rankin 4-0-14-2.
Ireland: 79-10(15 o.)
William Porterfield 33(23)
Gary Wilson 22(28)
Rashid Khan 3-0-17-4.
Man of The Match: Harzatullah Zazai.
Photo by Afghanistan Press Kit Uploads