After winning the opening fixture of the three-match series, a confident Afghanistan will look to seal the three-match ODI series to add to their spoils from the Twenty20 International series, which they won 2-0. The 29-run win was a convincing performance by Asghar Afghan and his men as they outplayed Ireland in all three departments, most hearteningly in the fielding. With the bat, Afghanistan's only concern – a minor one for now – is the no-show by their openers in the first game. Hazratullah Zazai, the star of the T20I series, and Ihsanullah failed to provide their team with a foundation, scoring 14 and 9 respectively. However, the good sign is that the middle-order showed resilience, especially Gulbadin Naib and Hashmatullah Shahidi, even though at no stage did they break away and threaten to swing the game in Afghanistan's favour. Both the batsmen scored crucial half-centuries and Afghanistan will want them to sparkle again in order to put up a competitive batting performance. Their total of 227/9 proved to be enough on Monday – they'd want significantly more to ease the pressure on their bowling attack. That said, it's their spin attack that makes Afghanistan the team they are, and the onus will again be on Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi. They won Afghanistan the first game by bowling Ireland out for 198 and will provide 30 overs that will, perhaps, decide the course of the game again.
Having been completely outplayed in the series, across formats, so far, Ireland have a lot to do. Their batting looked out of depth despite the experience of William Porterfield, Paul Stirling, the O'Brien brothers Niall and Kevin, and others. All their top eight batsmen got off to decent starts but only Andrew Balbirnie, who top-scored with an 82-ball 55, and Gary Wilson were able to build on their early gains. On the bowling front, Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin, the veteran pacemen, delivered for the team, sharing seven wickets between them. Another such bowling performance, coupled with a stronger show with the bat, could help Ireland change the tide.
Ireland: William Porterfield(c), Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie, Niall O Brien(w), Simi Singh, Kevin O Brien, Gary Wilson, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin, Peter Chase
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad(w), Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan(c), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran
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cricket scoreIRE vs AFGIRE vs AFG LiveIRE vs AFG Live Scoreireland vs afghanistanIreland vs Afghanistan LiveIreland vs Afghanistan Live Cricket ScoreIreland vs Afghanistan Live Scorelive cricketLive Cricket ScoreMohammad ShahzadWilliam Porterfield
First Published: August 29, 2018, 3:11 PM IST