ACB

Ireland level ODI series with five-wicket win

Ireland won the last match of the Islamic Bank of Afghanistan ODI Cup by five wickets to level the series 2-2.

William Porterfield won the toss on a sunny afternoon in Dehradun and elected to bowl first against the Afghan side that saw five changes in the playing XI from the fourth ODI. Afghanistan were restricted to 50/4 in 14.4 overs before all-rounder Mohammad Nabi arrived at the crease to join the in-form Asghar Afghan who still seems to struggle from his shoulder injury.

Nabi and Asghar batted together for 21 overs to rebuild the innings for Afghanistan and their 76-run partnership for the 5th wicket ended when Nabi was caught behind off the bowling of Simi Singh. Rashid Khan was again impressive with the bat scoring 35 off 28 balls with the help of two sixes and two fours.

Asghar scored his third consecutive half-century of the series and was retired hurt for 82 valuable runs. Irish spinners got some help from the wicket early on and took five wickets between them with George Dockrell and Andrew McBrine delivering spells of 2/46 and 1/31, respectively.

Paul Stirling (70) and Andy Balbirinie (68) led from the front for Ireland in the batting department to help their side to victory. Debutant Zahir Khan was expensive in his 10-over spell but got two important wickets of Paul Stirling and Simi Singh for Afghanistan.

Afghan skipper Asghar Afghan was declared the Man of the Match for his 82-run innings and Andy Balbirnie was the Player of the Series for scoring 215 runs in the series including a match-winning knock of 145* in the third match of the series.