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|Mujib Ur Rahman||10.0||3||14||3||1.40|
Afghanistan dominated the T20 series against Ireland with ease. There were a few moments during the series when Ireland was in the hunt but for the most part, they were hopelessly outclassed. The series now moves on to the ODI leg, which is more important than usual considering the ICC World Cup 2019 is around the corner now.
Afghanistan has qualified for the ten-nation cricket world cup 2019 and will be keen to get its preparations in order against Ireland. There is no doubt in our mind that Afghanistan starts favorites for the ODI’s but Ireland is also a better ODI side than it is a T20 one.
Afghanistan is going to go into this series confident of winning the series but even a single loss to Ireland will be regarded as a failure. The series is being played at Afghanistan’s adopted home in spin friendly conditions. Afghanistan has also elevated itself above Ireland and the rest of the associates.
One of the biggest challenges that Afghanistan will face is the ability to play out the fifty overs. Too many times its batting can go hard at the top and then struggle to last the entire inning.
Mohammad Shahzad comes back to the side after being left out for the T20’s. He will be looking to make a point. We think he should get an extended run in the side ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019 but Afghanistan may be keen to try out some other players as well.
Hazratullah Zazai smashed a record-breaking century in the T20 series and is going to attract a lot of attention in the ODI’s as well. His six hitting prowess seems more suited to the T20 game but maybe Afghanistan is looking to use him as an X-factor at the top of the order. Zazai is not the kind of player that takes too many singles and that can be a problem while batting for 50 overs.
Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Noor Ali Zadran, and Javed Ahmadi are some of the other batsmen that are likely to be a part of the ODI setup moving forward. Rahmat Shah is the one player that we think has the ability to bat long and ensure that Afghanistan does not suffer a rapid loss of wickets.
The bowling is one area where Afghanistan needs to work on. They have three world-class spinners to lead their attack but their fast bowling resources have become surprisingly scarce. Dawlat Zadran and Shapoor Zadran are making a comeback into the side. If Afghanistan can find a couple of genuine fast bowlers then they are going to be very hard to beat.
M Shahzad, Hazratullah Zazai, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, R Shah, Mohammad Nabi, N Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran.
We don’t have too many expectations from Ireland coming into this series. They have not demonstrated any improvements over the last few years and are regularly losing to sides like Scotland and Netherlands as well.
The Ireland ODI side is also facing some similar problems as its T20 squad. The batting lineup is pretty weak and overly dependent on Paul Stirling to get its runs. Stirling played some very good innings in the T20 series, all of them in losing causes, but showed just why he is in so much demand across the world.
Kevin O Brien also scored some runs in the T20 series and is in good form. In the ODI format, though, he tends to bat a bit too low down the order to have a real impact on the game. Some recognizable old faces will make a comeback into the ODI team like William Porterfield, and James McCollum.
The overall batting strength remains a bit underwhelming and we think they are going to struggle against the spinners.
The Irish bowlers were pretty hapless in the T20 series and not a lot has changed from that squad to the ODI one. Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Tim Murtagh, Peter Chase, and George Dockrell are expected to be in the playing eleven.
These bowlers are neither express in pace nor big spinners of the ball. The biggest advantage they have going for them is discipline. If the Irish bowlers are able to keep good lengths and prevent the Afghan batsmen from attacking them then they could incite mistakes and pick up wickets.
As a team, Ireland does not appear to be a match for Afghanistan in any aspect of the game.
WTS Porterfield, Andy Balbirnie, Simi Singh, James McCollum, George Dockrell, Stuart Poynter, PR Stirling, Kevin O'Brien, TJ Murtagh, WB Rankin, Barry McCarthy.
The team winning the toss is likely to want to bat first
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The 1st ODI between Afghanistan and Ireland is going to be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The forecast for the first match is pretty good and only a slight chance of rain has been predicted.
The pitch in Dehradun has been very good for batting. The boundaries of the ground are quite short and allow for plenty of big hits. The spinners are going to get some help from the surface as the match goes on. A number of matches at the same venue also make it difficult for the groundsman to keep the surface from becoming lower and slower.
There is nothing to suggest that Ireland is going to be able to pull off an upset. They don’t have the batting or the bowling to be able to challenge the Afghans. Even the conditions are not in their favor. We just don’t see any reason to back the upset at this time.
Back Afghanistan to win.
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