Kevin O’Brien's last-ball six in the super over against Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan earned a sensational consolation win for Ireland in the third Twenty20 on Tuesday.
Needing three off the last ball after Afghanistan was restricted to 8 runs in the super over, O’Brien hoisted the world’s leading T20 bowler over the long-off fence to give Ireland its first T20 victory against Afghanistan in 13 matches since 2013.
Ireland fast bowler Craig Young didn’t concede a boundary in the super over and restricted big-hitting Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Mohammad Nabi to only 8 runs.
Despite losing the tense game, Afghanistan clinched the three-match series 2-1.
“We showed great fight and character, and Craig Young was brilliant, he bowled brilliant"in the super ove," Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie said.
Afghanistan needed 16 to win off the last regular over, and Rashid hit a six and last-ball four against fast bowler Josh Little to force the game to a super over. Afghanistan finished on 142-7 in reply to Ireland's 142-8.
“Our batsmen played some poor shots,” Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan said. “Today we gave an opportunity to Qais (Ahmad) and Naveen (ul-Haq) and they showed their talent.”
Afghanistan was cruising to victory when openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (42) and Usman Ghani (18) provided a solid start of 60 runs off 50 balls.
But Ireland hit back through legspinner Simi Singh (2-37) removing Mohammad Nabi (4) and the in-form Najibullah Zadran (0) off successive deliveries. Asghar was dropped twice before scoring 32.
Earlier, Afghanistan’s young fast bowler Naveen (3-21) and 19-year-old debutant legspinner Qais (3-25) helped to restrict Ireland to 142-8.
Gareth Delany (37) and O’Brien shared a 62-run third-wicket stand but Ireland lost wickets at regular intervals against some tidy bowling by Qais and Naveen.