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|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||30||1||7.50|
Ireland vs Afghanistan in India is a historic tour. It features three T20 internationals, five one day internationals, and one test match. It is a full tour by Ireland of Afghanistan’s base in India. Seeing the two newest test match nations do battle with each other is always fascinating. More so, because even though the two sides have elevated themselves above the other associates, they both remain highly inconsistent and beatable.
Afghanistan can be considered the easy favorite in this series, especially in the T20 format. They started with a win against Ireland in the first T20 but that match was a lot closer than the final scorecard suggests. Ireland would have taken some confidence from that performance while Afghanistan would have been happy to escape unscathed.
It will be interesting to see how both sides adapt to each other’s strategies in the next match.
An excellent bowling performance put Afghanistan in a position from where they should have the first T20 against Ireland with ease. The three lead spinners of the side put the break on the scoring and also took wickets at important intervals.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi, and Rashid Khan bowled with a lot of skill and are going to be the biggest threats to Ireland further along in the series as well. The conditions were helpful for them no doubt but they still had to put the ball in the right places.
Mohammad Nabi gave away just 16 runs in his four overs and was the pick of the lot in our opinion. It also seems like Afghanistan is happy to use Rashid Khan towards the end of the inning in the slog rather than as an attacking option up front. This is a defensive move and one which should not be adopted in the long run.
While the senior spinners were excellent, bowlers like Fareed Malik and Karim Janat were unable to keep the same sort of control on the batsmen. The bowling for Afghanistan is pretty solid, though, and it is their batting which they will be worried about.
They were struggling at 50 for 5 in the last match and could have struggled to chase down a small total had Ireland got a couple of more wickets. Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran played a couple of very good innings to rescue the Afghans but the top-order collapse would have raised serious concerns.
Hazratullah Zazai is a swashbuckling young opener and we are looking forward to seeing him in the next match. The decision to open with Asghar Afghan also looks a bit strange to us but is likely to be persisted with.
Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan, Samiullah Shenwari, Karim Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Usman Ghani, N Zadran, Shafiqullah, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Farid Malik.
A poor performance from Ireland was not deserving of a win even though they nearly managed to pull it off. Ireland was beaten by Scotland a just a few days back in T20 cricket and it shows the amount of work left for Ireland to do in the shortest format of the game.
Once again, Ireland was let down by its batting. Paul Stirling was the only batsman to score above 20 in the top-5 and only contributions from the lower order made it possible for Ireland to get to a somewhat competitive total.
The problems that the Irish batsmen have against spin are well documented. They have been dominated by Afghanistan in the past because of their inability to play the slower bowlers with any sort of conviction.
We think it is going to be difficult for them to adapt in such a short time.
For Ireland to win, one of the batsmen must have an absolutely brilliant day and the only one capable of doing that seems to be Paul Stirling. Even Kevin O Brien, brilliant for Ireland in the past, looks like a shadow of himself.
The lack of batting talent in Ireland is beginning to show and there are just not enough players pushing for a spot.
It’s going to be down to the bowlers then to win matches for Ireland. Boyd Rankin, Peter Chase, and Joshua Little had a good outing in the previous match. They managed to find something from the surface and got some early wickets.
It was strange to see Simi Singh not bowl until the match was almost done. For some reason, he has not been bowling as often as he used to in recent matches.
Ireland is struggling to find quality from its domestic setup and that is a sure sign of trouble for the side moving forward.
PR Stirling, Kevin O'Brien, Andy Balbirnie, Shane Getkate, Simi Singh, Stuart Poynter, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, WB Rankin, Peter Chase, Lorcan Tucker.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to bat first
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The second T20 international between Afghanistan and Ireland is going to be played the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun, Uttrakhand. The pitch for the first match was pretty decent. It helped the spinners but was not unplayable or poor for batting by any stretch of the imagination.
We expect the scores to be higher in this match now that the batsmen will have had some time to assess the conditions.
The weather is expected to be dry for the duration of the match.
Afghanistan has an excellent record playing in Dehradun. They beat Bangladesh with ease and look like a far superior side to Ireland as well. We don’t think the valuation is worth it to back the upset on this occasion.
Back Afghanistan to win.
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