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Rashid's Five-for Helps Afghanistan Complete Whitewash Over Ireland

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: February 25, 2019, 12:22 AM IST
Rashid's Five-for Helps Afghanistan Complete Whitewash Over Ireland

(Image: Twitter/ICC)

Rashid Khan took a five-wicket haul as Afghanistan won the third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) against Ireland by 32 runs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun on Sunday, thus completing a 3-0 series whitewash.

Chasing 211 to win, Ireland could muster only 178-8 in response with Kevin O’Brien (74) coming close to taking them home at one point but they were outdone by Rashid’s late onslaught as the spinner ended the match with figures of 5-27.

Ireland were dealt an early blow after skipper Paul Stirling was dismissed in the third over by Ziaur Rahman, but O’Brien and Andy Balbirnie combined to put together a 96-run stand for the second wicket.

The two batted together for nearly 11 overs and found boundaries on a regular basis. They were well set up to launch a blistering attack in the death overs when a double blow in the 14th over turned the game on its head.

Rahman bowled Balbirnie and then a wonderful bit of fielding from Najibullah Zadran at backward point saw him get rid of new batsman Stuart Thompson with a direct hit.

Rashid soon got rid of the danger man O’Brien in the 16th over and then took a hat-trick in the 18th over, sending George Dockrell, Shane Getkate and Simi Singh back to the dugout and putting an end to any slim chances Ireland had of pulling off a consolation win.

The 20-year old completed his fifer by cleaning up Joshua Little’s stumps in the final over.

Earlier after being put in to bat when Ireland won the toss, Afghanistan didn’t hesitate to take the attack to the bowlers early.

Hazratullah Zazai – whose knock of 162 on Saturday was key to Afghanistan clinching the series – looked to play his shots, as did Usman Ghani.

By the time Ghani was dismissed by Boyd Rankin at the start of the fifth over, they had already accumulated 46 runs but the loss of Zazai and then Najeeb Tarakai shortly thereafter would have raised hopes among the fielding side of restricting Afghanistan to a low total.

Skipper Asghar Afghan scored 20 runs in as many balls and his departure could have triggered a collapse but for the exploits of Mohammad Nabi.

The hard-hitting 34-year old scored 81 of 36 balls, hitting 6 fours and 7 sixes during his stay at the crease to up the scoring rate considerably.

None of the other Afghanistan batsmen made a half-century but handy contributions across the board – all scored at brisk rates – meant that Afghanistan ended the first innings with a score in excess of 200 again.

The two sides will now play a five-match ODI series at the same venue that begins on February 28.
First Published: February 24, 2019, 10:09 PM IST

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