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|Mujib Ur Rahman||10.0||0||55||1||5.50|
With the second ODI of the ongoing series between Afghanistan and Ireland, the equation for the tourists remains the same. They're still searching for their first victory in this tour wherein Afghanistan have exhibited utter dominance in all the matches played thus far. The two teams are set to clash for yet another time in the series at the same venue on 5th February. For one team, that is Afghanistan, this series is about getting their combination right with the World Cup well within sight. For Ireland who narrowly missed the qualification, it is a chance to showcase that they, too, aren't really far behind Afghanistan when it comes to the ODI cricket. The first ODI series conveyed something else - which the Irish men will be desperate to retransmit in the third match of the series.
Although the Afghans have done exceedingly well in all the cricket they've played, there are quite a few issues which they need to fix before stepping in England - where the competition will certainly be more intense and more ruthless.
Quite essentially, Afghanistan's game is apparently unidimensional. So often have we seen their spinners take the opposition's batsmen down only to see their batsmen's failure to capitalize even while chasing a slowish total and it was a similar case in the first match of the series where Afghanistan had to sweat it out even to chase down a paltry total of 161. Even in the first T20I, it was the partnership between Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran that saw them through after their top order was dismantled like a house of cards.
Much to their fans' delight, there was an improved effort from their batsmen in the second ODI where Hazratullah Zazai, Hashmatullah Shahidi, and Rahmat Shah scored half-centuries and took Afghanistan across the 250-run mark before relentless weather denied any more play in the match. Having said that, they were well poised to make a total way more than they ended up doing which will be a matter of concern for them.
The department on which this Afghanistan relies heavily is their bowling. The likes of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi invariably keep bowling in right areas and are difficult to score against. So far there bowling has been utterly consistent - exhibiting match-winning performances in every single match and it will be interesting to see how they fare on the day their bowling fails to deliver.
Hazratullah Zazai, M Shahzad, R Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, N Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran.
The change in formats didn't really bring about any respite whatsoever for the Irish side as they were annihilated by the Afghan bowlers in the opening ODI of the series. Right from the beginning of the tour, the Irish side has struggled against the Afghan spinners and the same was the case in the first match.
Surprisingly, their bowling has fared a lot better in the ODI series as compared to the way they did in the T20Is. However, their batsmen failed to stay at the wicket let alone score runs, which was the primary reason for their massive defeat in the first match. The combination of Boyd Rankin, George Dockrell, Simi Singh, and Tim Murtagh did exceptionally well in the defense of a paltry total and will be looking to repeat a similar sort of performance in the third match of the series.
While it was their bowling which failed to make a mark in the shortest format, it's their batting which has disappointed in the lone ODI that has happened. They were staring at a sub-100 run score batting first on a decent batting wicket before the partnership between George Dockrell and Paul Stirling bailed them out. Almost all their batsmen have struggled to pick both Mujeeb ur Rahman and Rashid Khan and it seems that it will take something magical from them to get going against the Afghan spin trio.
Ireland have had a disappointing tour so far with four losses in as many completed matches. Although they have improved with every passing match, the improvement has only been slight. Paul Stirling has handled spin well thus far and if other batsmen can take a cue from it and play out the likes of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman, the Afghans will have their work cut out.
WTS Porterfield, PR Stirling, Andy Balbirnie, Simi Singh, Kevin O'Brien, Stuart Poynter, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine, TJ Murtagh, James Cameron, WB Rankin.
With dew likely to have an impact here, the team winning the toss will be looking to field first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The last match of the tour was washed out due to rain it isn't likely to be the case on Tuesday. The forecast for the match-day is a bright and clear sky with the temperature hovering around 21 degrees throughout the day. With rain over the previous two days, the surface surely would have quickened up a bit and we can expect a bit of assistance for the quick bowlers early on in the innings. However, the surface will get back to behave the same way it did in the last few matches. Dew will be a factor here and the team batting first will be looking to put at least 260 runs on the board.
Before the tournament began, it was expected that it would be a closely fought battle. However, barring the first match of the tour wherein the tourists showed a bit of fight, it's been a one-way street. Afghanistan have done better in all the departments of the game with their spinners, in particular, causing most of the damage. Considering what has happened in the series so far, Ireland have a lot of areas to improve in and it is not going to be easy for them. Therefore, with a better performing batting lineup and a wily bowling attack, the Afghans are firm favorites to come on top in the upcoming encounter.
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