ACB

Afghanistan come back strongly with convincing 109-run win

Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 109 runs in the fourth match of the Islamic Bank of Afghanistan ODI Cup to take a lead of 2-1 in the series.

Irish captain William Porterfield won the toss and invited Afghanistan to bat first which the Afghan captain would have also done had he won the toss. Afghanistan made four changes to the squad bringing Noor Ali Zadran, Ikram Alikhail, Gulbadin Naib and Aftab Alam to the side and replacing Mohammad Shahzad, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Samiullah Shinwari and Dawlat Zadran.

Afghanistan lost six wickets at regular intervals and were 81/6 before Mohammad Nabi came to the crease to join Asghar Afghan and form an important 50-run partnership for the seventh wicket. Asghar was run out for 54 runs scoring his second consecutive half-century of the series and was involved in a collision with Ireland Wicketkeeper Stuart Poynter as a result of which he did not come onto the field for the remainder of the match. Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan played brilliantly with the bat and put on a partnership of 86 runs for eight wicket before Nabi was caught for 64 by George Dockrell off the bowling of James Cameron-Dow. Rashid Khan completed his half-century off 53 balls with the help of one six and six fours before losing his wicket for 52 runs. James Cameron-Dow was the pick of Irish bowlers and delivered bowling figures of 3/32 in 10 overs.

The target of 224 seemed relatively easier for Irish batsman given their victory in the last match but the Afghan bowling attack was at its best today restricting Ireland to 114 runs and sealing a 109-run win in an important match of the series. Pacer Aftab Alam who played the first match of the series bowled impressively and took 4/25 in 8 overs. Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran took two wickets each and both Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadain Naib chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Rashid Khan was declared the man of the match for his all-round performance guiding Afghanistan to a convincing win.

The final match of the series will be played on Sunday 10th March 2019.