Paul Stirling steadied the ship with a ton    Getty Images
Paul Stirling steadied the ship with a ton Getty Images

After a humiliating defeat in the series opener, Ireland learned from their mistakes to defeat Afghanistan by 5 wickets and claimed their maiden bilateral series over the opponents. Asked to bowl, Ireland restricted Afghanistan for 177, and rode on Paul Stirling’s 101.

Afghanistan openers, Javed Ahmadi and Noor Ali Zadran, started well. Nonetheless, Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin removed both batsmen. From thereon, Irish bowlers applied the brakes on the scoreboard and maintained pressure. Their bowlers exhibited another valuable effort as a unit. George Dockrell’s spell, 4 for 28, proved to be the turning point. He got rid of Mohammad Nabi and set batsman Rahmat Shah. Barry McCarthy also contributed with a 3-for, dismissing Rashid Khan and Shafiqullah Saifuddin.

In reply, Ireland lost skipper William Porterfield cheaply. However, Stirling played the conditions well and added 61 runs with Andrew Balbirnie. Ireland lost Niall O’Brien, Gary Wilson and Stirling quickly after the latter’s hundred, but went past the finish line courtesy Kevin O’Brien and Stuart Poynter.

Stirling walked away with the Man of the Match and Man of the Series awards. He scored 188 runs and picked up a wicket in the series.

Brief scores

Afghanistan 177 all-out in 48.2 overs (Rahmat Shah 44, Rashid Khan 44; George Dockwell 4 for 28, Barry McCathy 3 for 32) lost to Ireland 180 for 5 in 38 overs (Paul Stirling 101, Andrew Balbirnie 35; Rashid Khan 2 for 17, Mohammad Nabi 2 for 28) by 5 wickets.