Mohammad Nabi’s all-round performance helped Afghanistan beat Ireland in opening match of the three-match T20I series by five wickets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun on Thursday. Mohammad Nabi’s all-round performance helped Afghanistan beat Ireland in opening match of the three-match T20I series by five wickets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun on Thursday.
Mohammad Nabi’s all-round performance helped Afghanistan beat Ireland in opening match of the three-match T20I series by five wickets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun on Thursday.

Mohammad Nabi’s all-round performance helped Afghanistan beat Ireland in the opening match of the three-match T20I series by five wickets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun on Thursday. (SCORECARD: Afghanistan vs Ireland, 1st T20I)

After his 2/16 in four overs had helped Afghanistan restrict Ireland to 132/6, Nabi walked out to bat with Afghanistan tottering at 30/3. That soon became 50/5 before Nabi joined forces with the experienced Najibullah Zadran (40* off 36 balls) to anchor the chase with an unbeaten 49 off 40 balls, with the help of five fours and one six.

Afghanistan stuttered early in chase losing skipper Asghar Afghan for five to Peter Chase in the second over. Hard-hitting Hazratullah Zazai was the next to go – holed out at deep square off the bowling off Boyd Rankin.

Rankin then dealt a second blow in the same over – the fourth of Afghanistan’s innings – with the wicket of Karim Janat for a three-ball duck.

Nabi then Samiullah Shinwari, who threw his wicket away with poor shot selection handing 19-year-old Josh Little his only wicket of the night with Kevin O’Brien taking a good catch at mid-on. Sharafuddin Ashraf’s departure for six had Afghanistan, before Zadran and Nabi added an unbeaten 86 runs to guide their team home.

Earlier, Ireland after opting to bat first, got off to a bad start with half their side back in the hut for just 65 runs inside the first 12 overs. Mujeeb ur Rahman accounted for O’Brien in the fifth over for five while Janat removed Andy Balbirnie (5), an over later. Skipper Paul Stirling scored 23 off 25, but became Nabi’s first victim of the night.

Nabi and Rashid Khan further dented Ireland in the middle-overs with Nabi adding one more wicket to his tally, while Rashid claimed 2/21 in his four overs. Stuart Poynter (31*) and George Dockrell (34*) added an unbeaten 67 runs for the sixth wicket to lead Ireland to 132/6 in their 20 overs, which was eventually overhauled by Afghanistan.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan 136/5 (Mohammad Nabi 49*, Najibullah Zadran 40*; Boyd Rankin 2/39) beat Ireland 132/6 (George Dockrell 34*, Stuart Poynter 31*; Mohammad Nabi 2/16) by five wickets.