Asghar Stanikzai scored  101 off just 90 balls consisting of 6 boundaries and sixes  Photo Courtesy: Aditya Sahay (CC Reporter)
Asghar Stanikzai scored 101 off just 90 balls consisting of 6 boundaries and sixes Photo Courtesy: Aditya Sahay

In the second ODI of the five-match series between Afghanistan and Ireland, Asghar Stanikzai’s slammed his maiden international ton and took his team to 338 all-out — their highest score in this format. To make matters more demanding, opener Mohammad Shahzad and Rahmat Shah plundered fifties and laid a solid foundation for their captain. However, William Porterfield’s brigade will look for an encore of chasing down 300-plus scores, and that too on St. Patrick’s Day. For that matter, their few of the glorious victories — against Pakistan in ICC World Cup 2007 and Zimbabwe in ICC World T20 2014 — had come on this day. Live cricket score: Afghanistan vs Ireland, 2nd ODI

Opting to bat, Afghanistan again came out all guns blazing. Nothing changed at Greater Noida Sports Complex, as Ireland were on the mat for most part of the innings. Shahzad led from the front with a quickfire 63, flooded with 12 fours. Noor Ali Zadran had began carefully but departed soon after Shahzad. Rahmat Shah, at No. 3, continued to impress. He not only rotated the strike, but also kept the scoreboard ticking with timely strokes to the fence.

Rahmat, however, was well supported by Stanikzai. The duo struck a valiant 96-run stand for the third wicket to keep their side ahead. After Rahmat’s fall, Stanikzai upped the ante with some lusty blows using his bottom hand in to play. Be it backward-square, deep extra-cover or deep point, no part of the ground was spared as he used the long handle judiciously.

Slamming Peter Chase for three consecutive sixes, Stanikzai started dealing in sixes in the last 10 overs. In the 46th over, he brought up his maiden international ton and would be relieved after a flurry of insignificant scores. Nonetheless, he did his job in style and departed giving a strong platform to accelerate.

Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari could not do much and went after getting decent starts. Be that as it may, Shafiqullah Shafiq completed the formalities with a fine cameo to finish off the innings in command. Ireland were precarious with the ball, especially the pace battery. Afghanistan’s batsmen went on the back foot and led the late onslaught as Chase, Tim Murtagh and Stuart Thompson sprayed the ball in all corners. They were even left perplexed with sloppy fielding. Live cricket updates: Afghanistan post highest score; Stirling registers best figures for Ireland

George Dockrell and Paul Stirling were the only economical bowlers in an innings studded with 11 sixes. Stirling also registered the best Irish figures (6 for 55) amidst the late flourish.

Ireland should take a cue from the third T20I, in which they had put up a good fight in chase of 234 and try to go beyond the line today. There are no demons in the pitch, which makes the target gettable. However, it will be a task for the Irish camp with their lacklustre middle order and absence of Kevin O’Brien.

Brief scores:

Afghanistan 338 all-out in 50 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 63, Rahmat Shah 68, Asghar Stanikzai 101; George Dockrell 2 for 45, Paul Stirling 6 for 55) vs Ireland