About the Match
Afghanistan registered a thumping 6-wicket win against Ireland in the first T20 match of the series and would like to continue with their good performance when the two teams meet again for the 2nd T20 at Greater Noida on 10th March. Chasing a target of 166 runs, Afghanistan easily built partnerships and took a focused approach in keeping the scoreboard ticking; they accomplished the task with 2 overs to spare, and look determined to repeat the winning show. Ireland, on the other hand, after winning the ODI series against UAE, will need to make a comeback here to stay alive. The contest could be well fought by both sides; whichever team can keep a cool head above its shoulders, will emerge victorious on Friday.
Samiullah Shenwari posted a superb half-century to steer the team towards the finish line along with good contributions by wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad, who scored 47, Najeeb Tarakai and captain Asghar Stanikzai. They kept the scoreboard ticking with sixes and boundaries and chased down 166 runs with 2 overs to spare.
Earlier, spinners Amir Hamza and Rashid Khan found success with the wickets, taking 3 scalps between them; the fielding was superb as they caused two run-outs and restricted Ireland to 165. The bowling unit has experienced spinners like Mohammad Nabi while speedsters Shapoor Zadran and Karim Janat can try to outwit the Irish with their pace skills.
They have a well-balanced team of batsmen and bowlers, who have prior experience of playing in these conditions. The victory has boosted the morale of the players, and they will surely come back stronger on Friday to try and win the 3-match series.
Stuart Thompson and Porterfield started the innings with an 82-run partnership while Gary Wilson posted 41 off 27 to take the total to a respectable 165 while batting first. However, the bowlers proved to be too expensive and failed to defend the total, losing the match by 6 wickets.
Thompson was the most economical with his fast-bowling skills while others speedsters Kevin O’Brien and Craig Young took one scalp each to try and stifle the Afghani batsmen but they gave away too many easy runs, leading to an imminent loss at the end.
Spinners Andy McBrine and Dockrell, who had been successful with the wickets against UAE, couldn’t find breakthroughs here but they could come out with more tricks in the upcoming match. Leg-spinner Jacob Mulder, who made his first-class debut in the last match, brings variety to the spin attack and could combine well to outwit the opposition. The batsmen have done well but they will be eager to come out all guns blazing for this crucial game.
The match could swing either way and both teams will leave no stone unturned to dominate on the field. Afghanistan has taken a 1-0 lead in the series and will be motivated to put up a stiff challenge yet again here; however, we feel that Ireland facing a must-win situation could prove to be a tough nut to crack. Going by the proceedings in the first game, it is hard to ignore the Afghans played and considering the fact that they're playing at their home ground, they are firm favorites to prevail yet again.