About the Match
Afghanistan continued with its winning momentum as the bowlers fired their way into a big win against Ireland in the first ODI match; the two countries will face each other now in the 2nd ODI at Greater Noida on 17th March. Setting a target of 292 runs batting first, the Afghanistan batsmen gave a fighting chance to the bowlers, who then went on to execute the strategy to perfection. Ireland lost the recently concluded T20 series 3-0 and would be eager to bounce back here with a win on Friday. It needs to be seen which team can cope with the crunch situations on field to emerge victorious.
Mohammad Shahzad and Noor Ali Zadran built a 68-run opening stand in the first ODI and they are in good form to stabilize the innings in the top-order. All-rounder Rahmat Shah posted a brilliant 78 off 92 to keep the scoreboard ticking, and along with others like Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi, they can build some steady partnerships in the upcoming match too.
The batsmen did well to post 292-run target against Ireland and the bowlers attacked with precision to defend it. Speedster Dawlat Zadran and spinner Rashid Khan, who took wickets consistently in the T20s also, claimed 4 wickets each to stifle the Irish batsmen and helped win the match by 30 runs. Other spinners like Amir Hamza and Mohammad Nabi have also performed well so far and add depth to the attack.
Overall, Afghanistan players are buoyant right now and their enthusiasm could turn into another series win against Ireland in this 5-match tournament.
William Porterfield once again led from the front as he posted a well-made 119 while chasing 292 runs against Afghanistan; Paul Stirling played a useful knock, scoring 68 runs but others like Kevin O’ Brien, Wilson and Thompson couldn’t bring in the runs and they lost the match by 30 runs. Ed Joyce and Niall O’ Brien are also experienced enough to help the team build steady foundation whether batting first or during a chase; they need to pull up their socks against the Afghani bowling.
Earlier, the bowlers put up a disciplined show with spinner Paul Stirling being the most economical; speedster all-rounder Kevin O’ Brien claimed 3-47 while Chase and Murtagh contributed with a wicket each. Spinner Dockrell also provided a breakthrough to restrict Ireland at 292.
The players have been down on morale after a colossal defeat in the T20s but they have good resources to make a much-needed comeback here in the longer format of the game.
Afghanistan enjoys a 1-0 lead in the series and their recent victory has surely boosted their morale further; however, Ireland has a good mix of talent and experience, which could help them redeem themselves here. The contest could go down to the wire if Ireland batsmen pack a punch here but we feel that the in-form Afghani bowlers could prove to be a tough to crack once again and win the match.