In the first Twenty20 match of the Islamic Bank of Afghanistan Cup, Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 11 runs in a rain-affected match under the DLS method.
Earlier today, Andrew Balbirnie of Ireland opted to bat first at Greater Noida Cricket Stadium after winning the toss. The Irish openers got off to a blistering start with a 63-run opening partnership.
Despite a brilliant half-century (60 off 41 balls) by Ireland’s Paul Stirling, Afghan leggy Rashid Khan got rid of Ireland batsmen with 3 scalps for 22 runs in his 4 overs while Shapoor Zadran and Mujeeb Zadran took a wicket each as well as Ireland managed to score 172 for 6 in the given overs.
In response, the Afghan opening pair of Wicket-Keeper batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai took on Ireland’s bowlers as they reached the fifty inside the power-play itself. The team then fell to a mini-collapse starting from the 6th over bowled by spinner Simi Singh which resulted in the team going from a firm 54/0 to 55 for 3 and then 70 for 4.
But then Najibullah Zadran joined the experienced Samiullah Shinwari to rescue Afghanistan with a terrific and crucial 63-run partnership as the rain halted Afghanistan's charge on 133 for 5.
As the rain did not stop, the match was called-off and Afghanistan declared winner under the DLS method to go 1-0 ahead in the Three-match series.
Meanwhile, Rashid Khan went past Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga to receive most Man of the Match awards in T20Is as he was declared the Player of the Match for a record 13th time today. He also overcame Malinga and Pakistani bowler Umer Gul for recording most three-wicket hauls in the format as he claimed his 13th one today.
Rashid Khan also surpassed Tim Southee of New Zealand for most wickets in a single country taking 45 wickets in India in T20Is.
Afghanistan remains unbeaten against Ireland at the Greater Noida Stadium with four consecutive wins at the venue as their winning streak is now extended to 11 against the Irish in T20Is.
Both teams are scheduled to play the second T20I of IBA Cup 2020 on Sunday at the same venue.