Will Mohammad Shahzad shift his batting gears according to the format of the game?    AFP
Will Mohammad Shahzad shift his batting gears according to the format of the game? AFP (File Photo)

After winning the limited-overs series quite comprehensively, Afghanistan will take on Ireland in the only Four-Day match starting from Tuesday at Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground. This clash is a part of the ICC Inter-continental Cup and holds a lot of importance for both teams to gain points in the longer format of the game. Afghanistan did win the Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) and One-Day International (ODI) series fair and square and they would be riding high on confidence. But with the format changing drastically, both teams resilience will be put to test. A close contest is on the cards, considering both the teams have got some impact players. With lots to play for both sides, let us walk through some key battles that may unfold in this only game:

Mohammad Shahzad vs Durability: Mohammad Shahzad is one of the best opening batsmen at present. Right from the word Go, Shahzad has the natural ability to take the bowlers to cleaners. He is a sweet timer of the ball and also has enormous power to deposit the ball into any corner of the stand. But Shahzad has displayed the knack of throwing away his wicket easily. He was in good nick in the limited-overs games, and got off to a great start in almost every game.

But coming into a Four-Day match, the equation is entirely different. He will have to ensure adapting well to the longest format of the game and playing accordingly. With enough time available with him, Shahzad needs to shift his batting gears according to the game s format.

William Porterfield vs consistency: William Porterfield is the vital aspect of the Irish side. He being the captain has to ensure leading from the front in all the necessary departments. And he has been a proven match winner for Ireland over the years. In the recently concluded ODI series, Porterfield was in good form. He timed the ball well and assessed his batting with respect to the game.

But, Porterfield was largely inconsistent. He failed to carry on with his form in all the fixtures. Given his batting standards, the Ireland side would rely on him at essential stages, but he disappointed at crucial junctures of the game resulting in the Irish side faltering at large.

Kevin O Brien vs Injuries: Kevin O Brien holds the key to the Ireland middle order with the bat. Moreover, he also holds the key to their bowling department. There is hardly anyone as successful as Kevin has been for Ireland. Be it with the bat or the ball, he has turned the game for his side in no-time. In ODI series too, he displayed great form and played a vital role in keeping the Ireland side s challenge alive till the final fixture.

But amidst all this, he was marred with a hamstring injury which he suffered during the third ODI. He did make a comeback in the fourth ODI, but there still remains uncertainty over his availability for the approaching Four-Day game.

Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan vs Ireland: Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan rammed through the Ireland batting in almost every game. It was not the case that they made their impact felt as soon as they were handed the ball. There were instances when these two were hammered by Ireland batsmen easily. But Nabi and Rashid have excellent variations under their sleeves. Many a time despite being taken to the cleaners, these have drilled through the Ireland batting in their second or third spells, eventually pulling off the victory for Afghanistan out of nothingness.

The Irish side has failed to read these two spinners despite having played 8 games (3 T20Is and 5 ODIs). And Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai would definitely be mindful of the fact about how Ireland have struggled against his two top-spinners and how to utilise them in the game.