- Joshua Little was adjudged as the player of the match
- Ireland won the match by 5 wickets
- All 5 matches in this series will be played at Civil Service Cricket Club, Belfast
With just two months to go for the T20I World Cup, the Irish team looks to be in some kind of serious form. yes, they have not ended up on the winning side every time, but it is certainly safe to say that at this moment they are in some kind of form. No matter whatever the Ireland team management is doing, it is reaping sweet results for the team. Ireland lost their home series against both India and New Zealand, but they were all closely contested matches. As of now, they are taking on Afghanistan in a 5 match T20I series as a part of their preparations for the T20I World Cup that is scheduled to be played in Australia later this year.
Ireland had already won the first match of the series and they headed into this game with a mindset to solidify their lead further. Team Afghanistan won the toss and decided to bat first. They wanted to put up a decent total on the board and then let Ireland try and chase it down with the likes of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi operating. As Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Usman Ghani walked in to open the innings for the visitors, Ireland looked pretty determined to not let them take off and control the flow of runs. Irish pacers Mark Adair and Joshua Little struck up front and sent Gurbaz and Ghani back pretty quickly. Afghanistan was reeling at 20-2 that is when Hashmatullah Shahidi walked in. In his valiant efforts to rescue Afghanistan from crashing down, Shahidi played a very slow inning of 36 off 42 deliveries. Wickets kept on tumbling at the other end, but Shahidi stood his ground. Apart from Azmatullah Shahidi, no other Afghanistan player could cross the 20-run mark.
The visitors set a target of 123 runs for the dominant Irish side. A low-scoring affair, but Aghanistan was baking on the spinning department which has the likes of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. Naveen-ul-Haq struck first up and sent the dangerous Paul Stirling back but it was skipper Andrew Balbirnie who caused all the damage for the visitors. Balbirnie struck a patient 46 off 36 deliveries with 3 boundaries and 1 six, which set the game up beautifully for the hosts. Following Balbirnie's exploits, George Dockrell along with Gareth Delany saw the Irish team home.
As of now, the Irish team leads the series by 2-0 and they will be eyeing the next game to clinch the series and deny Afghanistan their chances of winning a series in Ireland.
Afghanistan Playing XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Usman Ghani, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi(c), Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi
Ireland Playing XI: Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie(c), Lorcan Tucker(w), Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine, Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy, Joshua Little