About the Match
Afghanistan took the T20 series 3-0 and are now geared up for the 5-match ODI series against Ireland that begins with the 1st ODI at Greater Noida on 15th March. Scoring a record 233 runs in the last T20 match while batting first, the Afghanistan team showcased their brilliance with ball and bat, going on to make a clean whitewash; the Irish suffered a humiliating series loss and will be determined to fight back here. Both teams have a good mix of experienced players and young talent that will be raring to go and help their team gain an upper hand with a win on Wednesday.
The batting line-up has in-form players like wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad, all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, Shenwari Samiullah and Najeeb Tarakai, all of whom played a major role in the T20 series win against Ireland. They are a motivated lot and can stabilize the innings while setting a humungous target, like they did in the 3rd match, or chasing a competitive total, like the one they did in the first match in a convincing way.
Asghar Stanikzai leads the side and adds depth to the batting along with others like Shafiqullah, Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran and Karim Janat. The bowling squad has expert spinners like Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza and Mohammad Nabi, who consistently have provided breakthroughs to help the team win matches. Speedsters include Karim Janat and Shapoor Zadran, who can outwit the opponents with their left-right combination.
Afghanistan has performed superbly well to take the T20 series and they have good resources to repeat the winning performance in the ODIs too.
The bowlers haven’t yet found the right strategy to contain the Afghanistan batsmen, and this led to their colossal loss in the recently concluded T20 contest. Speedsters like Kevin O’ Brien, Barry McCarthy and Stuart Thompson would do better if they can contain the runs, although O’ Brien and McCarthy have been effective with the wicket-taking abilities. Spinners J Mulder, Andy McBrine and Dockrell could try and remove partnerships to stifle the opponents.
The batting line-up has talented players like Paul Stirling, William Porterfield, Thompson, Gary Wilson and Kevin O’ Brien, who could try to set a solid foundation in the longer format of the game. Stirling, Thompson, and Wilson tried their best to chase down the 234-run target in the 3rd T20 but couldn’t stop the Afghani spinners from doing their magic, losing the match by 28 runs in the end.
They must focus on building steady partnerships, keeping the 1s and 2s coming; they have plenty of all-rounders too, who could help the team make a much-needed comeback here.
Ireland hasn’t been able to overpower the Afghanistan side till now but they will try to put up a better performance in the upcoming ODI series. The first match could see match-winners from both sides up their ante but we feel that Afghanistan with their recent form, are better placed to win.