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|Ikram Ali Khil||1||3||0||0||33.33|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||1||4||0||0||25.00|
|Noor Ali Zadran||9||12||1||0||75.00|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||8.0||0||25||2||3.12|
It needed a monumental effort from Andrew Balbirnie for Ireland to register their first win in what has been a long tournament for them. A much-needed win in the third ODI not only revived their say in the series but also restored their lost morale. They are set to take on Afghanistan in the fourth ODI of the series which is to be played at the same venue on 8th March. With a win in the last match, Ireland have scripted a fantastic turnaround - which could even govern the results of upcoming matches. They'll certainly come out all guns blazing with new found confidence when they take on the Afghans in the upcoming encounter.
Unlike the rest of the forgone series, the Afghans clearly failed to build and keep up the pressure both with the bat and the ball which was also apparent in the field as well. Defending a mediocre total, the Afghans dropped catches, missed stumpings, and allowed the game to slip away which should have been in their pockets.
Batting first on a rain-affected surface, facing the new ball proved to be highly fatal for the Afghan batsmen and were quickly reduced to 74 for 5. Mohammad Shahzad and Rahmat Shah both failed to not only score quickly but also to stay at the crease even for a small duration. Hazratullah Zazai looked sure in his short stay, but a brain fade moment saw Afghanistan lose him as well. Asghar Afghan and Najibullah Zadran then combined well to push them to a reasonable total with Zadran scoring his maiden ODI hundred.
Bowling has been Afghanistan's forte right through the series, but their bowlers weren't able to make an impact similar to the one they've made day in and day out so far in the series. The poor fielding and missed stumping opportunity didn't help them either as Ireland successfully chased down a competitive total with an over to spare and four wickets in hand.
Asghar Afghan, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, N Zadran, NA Zadran, R Shah, Hazratullah Zazai, Ikram Ali Khil, Gulbadin Naib, Aftab Alam.
It was a welcome change for not just Ireland, but also neutral fans in a series which was going one-way thus far. For the most part of the game, it was the same old story for Ireland before George Dockrell and Andrew Balbirnie revived them. Ireland finally cruised to a well-deserved victory and also kept the series alive in the process.
Chasing a competitive total of 257, Ireland had a similar sort of start as Afghanistan's and were staring at yet another defeat on this tour. However, Balbirnie and Dockrell then scripted a massive turnaround with a 143-run partnership which resulted in the momentum shift and consequently a win for the visitors. Dockrell played a perfect supporting role to Balbrinie as the latter kept the runs coming with excellent strike rotation coupled with hitting boundaries at regular intervals.
Earlier with the ball, Ireland were brilliant in the opening burst as Tim Murtagh and Andy McBrine bowled exceedingly well and accounted to quick wickets in the initial few overs. However, they lacked the same penetration in the middle overs, one the ball went soft, as Afghanistan stitched an important partnership. Bowling at death and in the middle overs has been a concern for the Irish side right from the beginning of the series which is something they'll be eager to fix as soon as possible.
WTS Porterfield, PR Stirling, Andy Balbirnie, Simi Singh, Kevin O'Brien, Stuart Poynter, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine, TJ Murtagh, James Cameron, WB Rankin.
The Irish win has set up the series excellently poised at the moment. Both the teams will be looking to win the upcoming encounter and take an unassailable lead with just one more match to go after the next one. It hasn't been as easy for Afghans in the ODIs as it was in the T20Is and credit must be given to how the Irish batsmen have handled Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Having said that, it's been only a couple of batsmen who have managed to get away against the Afghan spinners and it isn't going to be easy in the fourth ODI. With spinners doing extremely well and batsmen chipping in, the Afghans are firm favorites to win the upcoming encounter and get back to the winning ways.
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