Afghanistan beat Ireland by 5 wickets       Desert_T20 (Twitter)
Afghanistan beat Ireland by 5 wickets Desert_T20 (Twitter)

Afghanistan edged past Ireland by 5 wickets in the second match of Desert T20 Challenge 2017, at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium courtesy Afghanistan’s collective bowling effort. After electing to bat first, Ireland posted an ordinary 125. Openers Paul Stirling and Stuart Poynter added 36 for the first wicket, trying to lay a strong foundation for the batsmen to come. However, Afghanistan displayed a disciplined effort, not letting the opposition batsmen open their arms and score runs at will. For that matter, none of the Afghanistan bowlers conceded over 7 RPO. While skipper William Porterfield managed 17, Kevin O’Brien could add only 12 runs to the scoreboard, setting up a paltry total of 126.

In reply, Afghanistan openers Mohammad Shahzad and Najeeb Tarakai stitched up a 54-run stand off 47 balls, making the chase even easier. However, Ireland made a comeback and took 5 wickets in a matter of 45 runs, putting Afghanistan in a spot of bother. While Andy McBrine and George Dockrell took a wicket apiece, Jacob Mulder took two crucial wickets of Shahzad and skipper Asghar Stanikzai. All the same, Mohammad Nabi came to Afghanistan’s rescue and scored 26 off just 17 to give his team a five-wicket victory.

Nabi’s innings was studded with a boundary and two sixes. Meanwhile, Najibullah Zadran scored a six and a four to add fire to the late-order blitz.

Brief scores:

Ireland 125 for 6 (Paul Stirling 25, Gary Wilson 23; Amir Hamza 2 for 21, Rashid Khan 2 for 22) lost to Ireland (Najeeb Tarakai 31, Mohammad Shahzad 29; Jacob Mulder 2 for 23) by 5 wickets