About the Match
Afghanistan continued its winning streak as they won the 2nd ODI match against Ireland by 34 runs to take a 2-0 series lead; the two teams will now face each other in the 3rd ODI at Greater Noida on 19th March. Posting a gigantic 338 runs, the Afghanis dominated over the Irish bowlers and then went on to demolish the opposition’s chase getting them all-out in the 48th over. Afghanistan has proved to be a formidable force to reckon with in this series against Ireland and the latter now need to buckle up if they want to keep the series alive. It needs to be seen which side can use the resources cleverly to triumph on Sunday.
Asghar Stanikzai took charge with the bat as he posted a superb 101 from 90 deliveries in the second match; Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Shahzad and others help build steady partnerships while batting first against Ireland and they could post a massive 339-run target for the opponents. Spinner Rashid Khan then wreaked havoc on the Irish batting line-up, taking 6 wickets in regular intervals ad making it difficult for them to chase the target.
Speedster Dawlat Zadran took 3-52 in 9 overs while others bowled economically to help win the match by 34 runs. In the first ODI also, the bowlers did well to defend 292 runs after Dawlat Zadran and Rashid Khan dismissed 4 opponents each in a brutal attack. Spinner Amir Hamza has also been in good form and he adds depth to the squad along with others like Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib.
The top-order batsmen Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran and Rahmat Shah have been contributing well to build a solid foundation, and they can combine well with others like Stanikzai and Shenwari to keep the scoreboard ticking here. They have performed well in an all-round manner, and are just one game away from an ODI series win.
Chasing 339 runs in the second ODI was a big ask but Paul Stirling’s 95 off 80 and Ed Joyce’s well-made 55 gave them hope of a much-needed win; the innings went smoothly with captain Porterfield also contributing with 45 runs but then things went awry after a few quick dismissals in the slog overs. Thompson tried to revive the innings with 37 off 25 but with hardly any partnerships thereafter, they lost the match again.
All-rounder and spinner Paul Stirling took a 6-wicket haul in the first innings giving away less than 6 runs per over while Dockrell also managed to dismiss two opponents but others like Chase and Murtagh proved to be expensive, giving away 338 runs in the end. In the first ODI, Kevin O’ Brien took 3 wickets while others combined well to stifle Afghanistan to below 300 runs; however, the batsmen collapsed under pressure despite a heroic 119 of 98 by Porterfield, and they ended up 30 runs short.
They have experienced players like Porterfield, Kevin O’ Brien, Stirling and others who can do well with bat and ball here to bounce back into the series.
Afghanistan has played with brimming confidence and a positive attitude on the field, giving them the upper hand here after two consecutive wins. However, we feel that Ireland with some good strategy could put up a better performance here to win and keep their campaign alive.