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|Ikram Ali Khil||5||10||0||0||50.00|
Another sorry performance by Ireland in the first ODI against Afghanistan showed just how much work remains ahead of the side. They are yet to win a single match on this tour and the going is not going to get any easier in the upcoming matches.
Afghanistan used its strengths in the best possible manner and put in a brilliant bowling performance. They restricted Ireland to a very manageable total and then chased it down without any drama. The conditions in Dehradun suit Afghanistan and very different from what the side is going to encounter in the ICC World Cup 2019 but winning matches is going to help the side’s confidence no doubt.
Can Ireland find a way to compete against Afghanistan or are the Afghans going to register easy win after easy win?
A brilliant bowling performance from Mujee ur Rahman put Ireland on the mat and they were never able to recover after that. Mujeeb took three wickets in his first spell and reduced Ireland to 14 for the loss of three wickets.
Gulbadin Naib also bowled very well to run through the middle order with some quick strikes after which Dawlat Zadran finished off the tail. Rashid Khan was the fifth bowler introduced into the attack and did not have much to do. Mohammad Nabi is the only bowler to have gone for some runs and would be hoping for an improved show in this match.
There is no doubt in our mind that the Afghanistan bowling attack is superior to what the Irish possess. In the sub-continental conditions, Afghanistan’s bowlers are going to be very difficult for Ireland to play and so another couple of poor batting performances cannot be ruled out.
Afghanistan only had a small total to chase down but it was good to see the batsmen take their time. Mohammad Shahzad scored 43, Hazratullah Zazai scored 25, while Gulbadin Naib top-scored with 46. The side has some decent batting depth with Mohammad Nabi and Rahmat Shah batting at 8 and 9 in the previous match.
The Afghans have also shown a lot of fluidity in changing the batting order around to ensure that they are responding to the current match situation as needed.
Hazratullah Zazai, MJ Ahmadi, R Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ikram Ali Khil, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Sayed Shirzad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Ireland was consigned to yet another heavy defeat at the hands of Afghanistan. There may be a lot of clamor about having just 10 teams in the ICC World Cup 2019 but such performances do not make it seem like a bad idea.
Ireland’s batting has been poor and frankly not of international quality. Only Paul Stirling has shown the talent and skill to be able to adapt against some good bowling in challenging conditions. Stirling scored 89 in the last match, which is well over 50% of the total score that Ireland achieved.
We shudder to think what will happen of Paul Stirling falls early in the next match. There is just not enough talent in the side to justify thinking of an upset. We advise all potential punters to keep their money firmly in the pockets rather than putting it on Ireland.
One batsman to watch out for might James McCollum. He made his debut in the last match and got out first ball but he is someone with talent. We think he could get a big score if he is able to get past the initial few deliveries.
The story of the Irish bowling also remains the same. Tim Murtagh was economical as was Simi Singh. They bowled well but the Afghanistan batsmen were not really going hard at them either. They will have a much stiffer challenge if the Afghan batsmen get an opportunity to bat first in this match.
George Dockrell and Barry McCarthy round out the bowling lineup of Ireland.
We struggle to see how this bowling attack is going to put a lot of pressure on Afghanistan unless the Afghan batsmen play rash shots and throw away their wickets.
WTS Porterfield, PR Stirling, Andy Balbirnie, Simi Singh, Kevin O'Brien, Stuart Poynter, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine, TJ Murtagh, James Cameron, WB Rankin.
The side winning the toss is likely to bat first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The second ODI between Afghanistan and Ireland is going to be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The weather forecast is good with about a 20% chance of rain predicted.
The pitch was not as bad as Ireland made it look in the previous match and we think a much higher scoring match is likely this time around. The par score should be somewhere around 270 especially if Afghanistan gets to bat first.
There is no reason why Ireland should win this match purely from an objective standpoint. Stranger things have happened, yes, but we would not be putting our money on it to happen.
Back Afghanistan to win.
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