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|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||38||3||9.50|
Afghanistan won a very tightly contested match against Ireland to start the T20 series in style. Now, Afghanistan has the chance to try and wrap up the three-match series by winning the second match as well. Afghanistan has never lost a bilateral T20 series to Ireland and it is going to take something very special for Ireland to be able to break that streak.
Ireland played very well for the majority of the 1st T20 and could consider itself a little unlucky that the rain came when it did. The forecast for the second T20 between Afghanistan and Ireland is much better, though, and we should be able to see both these teams go head to head for the entire duration of the match.
Afghanistan vs Ireland 2nd T20 is going to be played at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground, Greater Noida on the 8th of March 2020.
We don’t think Afghanistan would have expected such a good fight from Ireland in the first T20. Their bowling was put under pressure from the start and the famed spinners were not allowed to settle in. It took a brilliant bowling spell from Rashid Khan to stop the Irish batsmen from running away.
We think there is some room for tweaking the balance of the Afghanistan side but it is not common to see changes in a winning team.
That Afghanistan was worried about its batting is clear to see in the team selection. Afghanistan picked up an extra all-rounder/batsman to try and lengthen its batting lineup. We think Qais Ahmed would have been much more effective in place of someone like Karim Janat.
Mohammad Nabi was also wasted in the previous match. He did not bowl a single over and was slated to bat at number seven. He could easily move up the order and allow another genuine wicket-taking option.
Still, it was good to see Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz play with freedom at the top of the order while Samiullah Shinwari and Najibullah Zadran played very well to provide the finishing touches on the chase.
Afghanistan was losing wickets consistently and could have been in a spot of bother had the rain not curtailed the match. The Afghan performance was far from perfect in the first match and there is a lot of room for improvement in all the aspects of the game.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Karim Janat, N Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shenwari, S Zadran.
Ireland came into this series with nothing to lose and played that way. It was very good to see Kevin O’Brien, Paul Stirling, and Andrew Balbirnie take the attack to the Afghan bowlers from the first ball. There was no holding back or trying to save wickets which may have been the safer way to play. Instead, Ireland went in looking for a win and gave it their best shot.
There are a couple of things that Ireland did wrong. Their batsmen did not convert their starts into a significant total and the fast bowlers gave away too many runs at the start of the inning.
A senior bowler like Boyd Rankin is expected to be consistent in his performances. He gave away 44 runs in his four overs and picked up just one wicket. Had he been a bit more economical, Ireland could well have ended up on the winning side in the first match.
Ireland’s batting depth is a concern and will remain so. Moreover, the new aggressive approach that the top-order is taking makes that lack of depth an even bigger weakness. On the day this approach does not come off, it will look very bad but on the day it does come off, Ireland is going to end up winning the match.
Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Simi Singh, and Joshua Little all bowled well in the previous match. We think Ireland is going to go into this next match full of confidence.
Andy Balbirnie, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Kevin O'Brien, WB Rankin, Simi Singh, PR Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, CA Young.
The team that wins the toss is going to want to field first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The weather forecast for Greater Noida is much better than the first T20. There is a negligible chance of rain and the temperatures are not going to be too high either. We should be able to get a full match without any interruptions.
The pitch was good for batting and will remain so. The small outfield is rocket-fast and makes defending totals quite tricky. Teams batting first are not going to be comfortable defending anything less than 180.
We like what we saw from Ireland in the first match. Afghanistan is still the favorite, rightly so, but we think it may be worth taking the risk on Ireland in this match. Ireland’s bowling was good and its batting showed a lot of promise as well.
Bet on Ireland to win.
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