Ireland National Cricket Team bowled out Afghanistan for 138 to claim a 72-run victory in their first one-day international on Sunday in Dublin, capital of Ireland.
The most eye-catching figures were recorded by Mark Adair, who finished with 4/19, and Boyd Rankin, who claimed 3/40. But just as pivotal were opening pair Tim Murtagh and Andy McBrine, who bowled six maidens between them. Murtagh claimed 2/12 from six overs, while McBrine bowled his full quota for just 17 runs.
Between them, they slowed Afghanistan to a virtual standstill. After 21 overs, they were 41/4 and sinking, needing a further 170 runs for victory, and though Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Afghan added some much-needed impetus, putting on 54 in nine overs for the fifth wicket, it felt like it would take something special, and when Nabi nicked off to Kevin O’Brien for 27, Ireland’s victory was almost confirmed.
Captain Gulbadin Naib and leg-spinner Rashid Khan each reached double figures, but when they fell, defeat came soon after, with 120/6 becoming 120/8 and 138/8 becoming 138 all out.
The extent to which Afghanistan struggled highlighted the value of Ireland’s two half-centuries earlier today, contributed by opener Paul Stirling and captain William Porterfield.
Though neither was able to score completely freely, they each stuck at their task and ground out a 99-run partnership.
Mujeeb Zadran’s 10-spell cost just 35, while Rashid Khan claimed sterling figures of 2/41.
Aftab Alam chipped in with three-for too, as did Zadran, adding a late wicket to his opening burst. They might have felt they had put Afghanistan on course for victory, but Ireland’s bowlers, using all their nous and wiles, helped the home side surge back spectacularly.