Middle order batsman Rahmat Shah and spin brilliance from Rashid Khan ensured Afghanistan make history beating Ireland by 7 wickets to secure the team’s first-ever win in Test cricket.
Irish skipper William Porterfield had won the toss and opted to bat first in the one-off Islamic Bank of Afghanistan Test match in Dehradun. The Irish batsmen struggled against a fierce Afghan bowling line up, including the spin attack of Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan and debutant Waqar Salamkheil who shared 7 wickets between them while Pacer Yamin Ahmadzai contributed 3 important wickets to bowl out Ireland for just 172 in their first innings.
Afghanistan responded well in their first innings with three batsmen; Rahmat Shah, Hashmat Shahidi and skipper Asghar Afghan scoring their maiden half-centuries in Test cricket. After Shahidi lost his wicket for 61 runs, wickets fell at quick intervals and Afghanistan were all out for 314 runs with a lead of 142 runs.
Already trailing by 142 runs, Ireland lost quick wickets in their second innings before Andy Balbirnie and James McCollum put on 104 runs for the third wicket that seemed to stabilize the course for the visitors. However, they could not cope up with Afghanistan’s potent spin attack losing wickets quickly as they were bowled out for 288 runs in the last session on day 3, setting a target of 147 runs for Afghanistan to chase.
Pursuing a historic victory, Afghanistan lost the wicket of Mohammad Shahzad early when he edged behind for just 2 runs off McBrine’s bowling. A calm and composed Rahmat Shah took over the innings and was given good company by opening batsman Ihsanullah Janat ultimately ensuring Afghanistan make history and secure their first-ever Test Triumph.
It turned out to be a memorable occasion in particular for Shah who was awarded Afghanistan’s first Player of the Match award in Test Cricket for his consecutive half-centuries in both innings and being registered as the first Afghan player to score a half-century in cricket’s elite format.