Kevin O’Brien, who was promoted to the top of the order to open the innings alongside Stirling, scored 74 on Sunday. @ Getty Images

Ireland were handed a whitewash in the three-match Twenty20 International series against Afghanistan which concluded on Sunday. Rashid Khan was the wrecker-in-chief with the legspinner, who picked four wickets in four deliveries in the third and final T20I on Sunday, finishing the tournament with 11 wickets in three games.

Ireland were led by Paul Stirling, who was handed the reins in the absence of Gary Wilson. “It’s disappointing to lose three-nil here, although Afghanistan are a very good side. We acquitted ourselves well in periods of all three games – especially with the ball in game one, and in the run chase in game two and three,” Kevin O’Brien said on Monday. (ALSO READ: Afghanistan smash records, eye dream start at ICC World Cup 2019)

“We probably just lacked a little bit of experience towards the end of both innings’, but we’re certainly gearing up for bigger things in the future – especially with the T20 qualifier in October. We’re starting to put some good things in place.

“Stirlo [Paul Stirling] stood in well as the T20 captain – he demanded high standards, and having played under some excellent captains over the years in franchise cricket, he has taken some tips from them and has his own style.”

O’Brien, who scored 74 on Sunday, was promoted to the top of the order to open the innings alongside Stirling. The duo forged 126 runs together for the first wicket in the second T20I.

“I love batting at the top of the order. I have done it for franchise teams in the past and had some success. I think our performances in the past in T20 needed a change, and, hopefully, this move continues to be a successful one,” he explained. (ALSO READ: Afghanistan’s new superstar: The record-breaking Hazratullah Zazai)

“The best place to bat is at the top of the order, especially in the powerplay when you’ve only got two men out. With myself and Stirlo it’s been all or nothing – we’ve got off to some flyers in the powerplay and one of us has always gone on to put in a big score. Not the match-winning hundreds we’d like, more seventies and eighties, and with Paul, the 90 he got the other day. Hopefully, we can continue to have a good partnership and continue to be successful.”

Both teams will not be engaged in a five-match ODI series which begins on Thursday and will see the return of their regular skipper William Porterfield, who will also lead them in the one-off Test. (ALSO READ: Hazratullah Zazai cuts loose, Afghanistan demolish Ireland bowlers, T20I record books)

“We’ve got to go in fresh, but still take in what we’ve learnt from the T20s with the bat and ball. Their squad is very similar in that they have 4 or 5 guys coming in and it’s important we learn quickly from this experience and try to implement it in the 50-over game. It’s a format in which we’ve been more even with Afghanistan and we’re looking forward to getting started on Thursday. We’ll rest up today then be back training on Tuesday, then look forward to an exciting series,” he said.