Afghanistan’s National Cricket Team beat Ireland by 16 runs in the first of three T20 International’s on Monday at the Bready Cricket Club in Bready, Northern Ireland.
Hazratullah Zazai smashed a blistering 74 off 33 balls. The team posted 160-7 batting first after rain had reduced the match to 18 overs a side.
Ireland fell short on 144-9, as star spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran took five wickets between them.
Afghanistan will take a 1-0 lead into Wednesday’s second match of the three-game series, as they look to deny fellow new Test nation Ireland revenge for being pipped to qualification for next year’s World Cup.
“Zazai, that was his second game, we didn’t know much about him. He seemed to hit to all parts,” Irish captain Gary Wilson told the Cricket Ireland website.
“But we came back really well — after the start they got, that was a great positive. I thought the boys showed great character.”
Opening batsman Zazai was playing just his second international match and first since December 2016, but the 20-year-old struck six sixes in a magnificent 33-ball innings.
Afghanistan has a set unit. Their recent performances include a 3-0 T20I series win over Bangladesh in June.
Even though the conditions might not favor them much, it should be noted that players such as Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Zadran and Mohammad Nabi have been playing in the county cricket lately, which would've given them some idea of the conditions in the United Kingdom, according to a Blastingnews report.
The Afghan side is filled with all-rounders which brings great balance to their side, Blastingnews stated.
According to Cricbuzz, the Bready Cricket Club has hosted only one T20I, in 2015, hence there is little that can be predicted about the surface.