Afghanistan vs Ireland ODI Series: January 26, 2021
In this article, we preview Afghanistan vs Ireland, the third match of an ODI series at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium on 26 January. The match is part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League to help decide automatic qualifiers for the next ODI World Cup in 2023.
Match Preview: What to Expect
In the first ODI of a series on the Ireland tour of United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat. They got off to a great start with an opening stand of 120 that ended when opener Javad Ahmadi (38 runs in 55 balls) lost his wicket to a catch by Simi Singh off McBrine. A slump followed, as Afghanistan lost regular wickets. When the other opener, Rahmanullah Gurbaz was out for a brilliant 127 runs off 127 balls with 8 fours and 9 sixes, the scoreboard read 198 for 6. Rashid Khan who walked in at 208 for 7 scored 55 off 30 balls to rescue the innings with support from Najibullah Zadran who made 29 from 43 balls. The Afghan score read 287/9 at the end of their allotted 50 overs. Andy McBrine was the pick of the Ireland bowlers with figures of 5 for 29, while Barry McCarthy and Simi Singh took a wicket each.
When Ireland batted, they lost early wickets to be reduced to 36 for 2 before a mini rescue act by Paul Stirling and Harry Tector who shared a 50-run stand for the third wicket. But after Stirling was fourth out for a well-made 39 off 53 balls, Curtis Campher and Lorcan Tucker got together in an 86-run stand that threatened to take the match away from Afghanistan. But after Campher got out for 39 off 53 balls at the score of 174 for 5, Ireland appeared to lose their way and found themselves in a precarious situation at 232 for 8 in 46.1 overs. But they still had a shot at victory if Tucker was at the crease. But when the wicketkeeper batsman was stumped by Gurbaz off the bowling of Rashid Khan for 83 off 96 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes, it was all over at 253 for 9. Ireland managed to reach 271 for 9 in a match that could have gone either way. Naveen-ul-Haq (3/68) took the most wickets for Afghanistan, while Mujeeb-ur-Rahman (2/40), Gulbadin Naib (1/36), Mohammad Nabi (1/45), and Rashid Khan (2/56) were the other wicket-taking bowlers.
The first game of the series has set the tone for what promises to be a hard-fought battle between two well-matched sides. But Afghanistan have drawn first blood in a high-stakes contest in a series whose winner could go on to achieve automatic qualification for the ODI World Cup in 2023. Bookmakers make Afghanistan outright favourites to win the series, with quoted odds of 1/41, while Ireland attract odds of 10/1.
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