Afghanistan secured the three-match ODI series against Ireland after winning the second ODI at Abu Dhabi on Sunday (24th January). With this latest seven-wicket victory, Afghanistan are leading this series by 2-0 with one match to go.
After winning the toss, Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie decided to bat first. Ireland ended their first innings on 259/9 (50 overs), thanks to the century of the opener Paul Stirling. In reply, Afghanistan chased down that target in 45.2 overs after losing three wickets, thanks to the unbeaten century of Rahmat Shah and 82 off Hashmatullah Shahidi.
Afghanistan vs Ireland 2021, 2nd ODI
2nd innings (Afghanistan): Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi’s strong giant partnership made the chasing comfortable
Afghanistan lost both their openers inside the powerplay. While Barry McCarthy trapped Javed Ahmadi (16) for lbw in the eighth over, Curtis Campher dismissed the last ODI’s centurion Rahmanullah Gurbaz (31) in the very next in same lbw fashion.
But their next two batsmen Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi controlled that second innings very well as their solid third wicket partnership made their chasing journey very smooth.
Even after completing their respective half-centuries, they didn’t stop as they continued their strong batting performances and set up a huge third wicket partnership. Before Simi Singh dismissed Hashmatullah Shahidi for 82 runs off 100 balls (8 fours and 1 six) in the 42nd over, Shah and Shahidi put the 184 runs partnership for the third wicket.
Soon after that partnership was broken, Rahmat Shah completed his fifth ODI century in 103 balls and remained not out on 103 runs off 109 balls (10 fours and 2 sixes).
1st innings (Ireland): Paul Stirling’s century helped the Irish team to put a competitive first innings total
Opener Kevin O’Brien (1) once again lost his wicket at the early stage, only in the second over of the match, while captain Andy Balbirnie (5) also lost his wicket very quickly. Off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman took both those first two wickets. But then another experienced opener Paul Stirling and Harry Tector controlled that innings as Ireland scored 43/2 at the end of the first 10 overs.
Stirling and Tector built up a strong third-wicket partnership of 84 runs, where Stirling completed his half-century in 47 balls. While Gulbadin Naib dropped an opportunity to dismiss Stirling in his own ball during the 11th over, it proved very costly for them.
After Tector lost his wicket for 24 runs, Stirling put another strong partnership with in-form Curtis Campher. They set up the 106 runs partnership for the fourth wicket. During that long partnership, Stirling completed his 11th ODI century in 113 balls, which is the joint most number of ODI centuries for an Irish batsman. In this same ODI, Stirling also reached the 4500 ODI runs milestone and became the first Irish batsman to reach this feat.
On the other hand, Campher scored 47 runs off 52 balls (4 fours) before his dismissal broke that long fourth wicket partnership. While Rashid Khan dismissed Campher in the 42nd over, Stirling was finally dismissed by Naveen-ul-Haq in the 45th over after scoring 128 runs off 132 balls (12 fours and 4 sixes).
As their was no set batsman in the death overs, Ireland batsmen failed to manage the big first innings total.
Afghanistan right-arm pacer Naveen-ul-Haq bowled very well in the death overs as he finished with the bowling figures of 10-0-42-4. Also, Mujeeb Ur Rahman bagged three wickets for 46 runs in his 10-over quota. Rashid Khan (1/49) and Gulbadin Naib (1/64) also collected one wicket each in that innings.
Brief Scores: Ireland – 259/9 in 50 overs (Paul Stirling 128, Curtis Campher 47; Naveen-ul-Haq 4/42) vs Afghanistan – 260/3 in 45.2 overs (Rahmat Shah 103*, Hashmatullah Shahidi 82; Curtis Campher 1/28)
Result: Afghanistan won by 7 wickets (with 28 balls remaining)