About the Match
Afghanistan has won the T20 series against Ireland 2-0 after taking the second T20 match by 17 runs through the D/L method; the two teams will now face other in the 3rd T20 at Greater Noida on 12th March. Although a dead rubber, Ireland will be eager to register a face-saving win here before proceeding to the ODI series starting next week. On the other hand, Afghanistan will be high up in morale with the series victory and will leave no stone unturned to make it a 3-0 whitewash on Sunday.
Spinner Rashid Khan registered a career-best 5-3 in just 2 overs, leading to the complete demolition of the Irish batting line-up in the second match; he took 3 wickets in the 10th over to deny Ireland the runs required to achieve a reduced target of 111 from 11 overs after the D/L method was put in place. Medium-pacer Karim Janat also did well as he claimed 3-24 to stifle the opposition; they combined well to help Afghanistan win the match and series.
Earlier, top-order batsman Najeeb Tarakai posted a superb 90 off 58 to take the team to a solid 184 batting first; he was assisted well by Karim Janat and Mohammad Nabi in the middle. In the first match, it was Mohammad Shahzad and Samiullah Shenwari who performed well with the bat to chase down 166 runs successfully. Spinners like Amir Hamza, who had taken 2 wickets in the previous game, Mohammad Nabi and speedster Shapoor Zadran add depth to the bowling attack.
Overall, the Afghanis have done brilliantly well to overpower Ireland by cleverly executing the strategy; they have good resources to help them keep the winning streak alive.
Except for Stirling and Porterfield, all other batsmen crumbled under pressure while chasing 111-run target from 11 overs in the second match; players like Kevin O’ Brien, Wilson and Thompson were dismissed for single digits and they lost the match by 17 runs D/L method. In the first match, Thompson, Porterfield, and Wilson had impressed with the bat, helping them get to a competitive 165 batting first; but they couldn’t repeat the antics here under a crunch situation.
The bowling department saw some impressive figures from medium pacer Barry McCarthy, who claimed 4-33 in the second match, and spinner Mulder getting his first wicket; but they couldn’t stop Afghanistan from getting to a big total.
They have lost the series but will be determined to put up a better fight here to redeem themselves; with the experienced batsmen like Porterfield, Kevin and Wilson, clubbed with the in-form bowlers, Ireland could try and outwit the Afghanistan team here on Sunday.
Ireland is down in spirit but they have talented players who can help them make a comeback; however, we feel that the high-flying Afghanistan have their feet firmly on the ground and will not lose focus. The contest could go down to the wire but Afghanistan looks better placed to win.