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|Niall O Brien||11||18||0||0||61.11|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||10.0||0||32||1||3.20|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||4||5||0||0||80.00|
Ireland was no match for Afghanistan in the T20 series that preceded this ODI series and was outplayed in every aspect of the game. The ODI format is the preferred one for Ireland nowadays and the hope would be to make more of a fist of things in this format.
Afghanistan is going to be full of confidence after ensuring that its T20 dominance against Ireland remains intact. Historically, ODI contests between the two nations have been much closer fought. Afghanistan, though, is a fast-improving nation and is not going to think of anything but a victory in every contest that it plays against Ireland.
After the beating that Ireland suffered in the T20 games, it would be a little disconcerting for them to see that most of their squad for the ODI’s is still the same set of players. Can a change in format bring about a change in fortunes? Ireland will certainly be hoping for it.
The batting for Ireland was very poor in the T20’s and it was the main reason why Ireland failed to compete. The Irish batsmen were unable to find a way to attack the Afghanistan spinners, something that they absolutely must do in the shortest format of the game.
Now in the ODI’s, though, there will be more opportunities for the batsmen to rotate the strike or even play out a couple of overs. Having more time definitely changes the nature of the game for both the batsmen and the bowlers.
Paul Stirling was very good in the English county circuit but his country is still waiting for a meaningful performance from him. If he can fire at the top then the task for Ireland certainly becomes a lot easier.
William Porterfield, Andy Balbirnie, and Kevin O’Brien will be the main players to watch out for Ireland in the ODI’s. Among the bowlers, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin, and Simi Singh will lead the attack.
The Irish bowlers did a decent job of keeping Afghanistan’s leading batsmen quiet in the series and would be confident of doing the same in the ODI’s. If the batsmen can back up the Irish bowlers, then there is no reason why Ireland cannot win a couple of matches or even the series.
PR Stirling, WTS Porterfield, GC Wilson, Andy Balbirnie, Simi Singh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O Brien, Andy McBrine, Peter Chase, TJ Murtagh, WB Rankin.
The visitors are yet to lose a match in the series and will be in a very good frame of mind ahead of the ODI’s. There are a couple of pressing concerns for their team as well.
The bowling for Afghanistan has been splendid so far. Their trio of spinners, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, and Mohammad Nabi have weaved a spell around the Irish batsmen and made it impossible for them to escape.
They will once again try to build the same sort of pressure in the ODI’s, although, they will have to be consistent for a lot more time in this format. This is not to say that the Afghanistan bowlers are not going to be able to do it but the challenge is far greater.
Wafadar Momand, a very promising fast bowler, also in the squad for this series could make his debut. He has a tricky left-arm angle to exploit and bowls with some very decent pace as well.
Afghanistan’s bowling has the resources and depth of a settled cricketing nation. We are sure that is not going to be the problem area for them in this series. The batting, though, is another question.
Hazratullah Zazai, the best batsman for Afghanistan in the T20 series, is not going to be a part of the ODI’s. His scoring saved Afghanistan some blushes and the senior batsmen were spared being asked some tough questions about their own inconsistency.
Mohammad Shahzad, Asghar Afghan, Samiuulah Shenwari, and Mohammad Nabi were all a part of the T20 squad but failed to make any significant scores. This cannot be the way they perform in the ODI’s.
Rahmat Shah and Javed Ahmadi are in the side for this format of the game but they could possibly take a little time to get used to the conditions before being at their best. Afghanistan’s batting order has much more experience and skill on paper, but they are prone to some spectacular collapses at all times.
Ihsanullah, R Shah, MA Stanikzai, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Shafiqullah, Hazratullah Zazai.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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A 15-20% chance of rain has been forecast for the first match and so we should be able to get a game in. Hopefully, the rain will not cause a reduction in the overs because that can sometimes make the match a bit skewed in the favor of one team.
The Civil Service Cricket Club is expected to offer up a good batting surface with some help in it for the spinners. Perhaps some grass may be left on the surface to try and get the Irish seamers in the game as well. Overall, a score of around 270 should be considered par.
Ireland has won two out of the last three ODI games between the two sides. Current form and a superior bowling attack tilt things in favor of Afghanistan.
Back Afghanistan to win.
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