IRE vs AFG, 3rd T20I: Batters' improved performance keeps Afghanistan alive in the series
Riding on a much-improved batting display and a superb collective bowling effort, Afghanistan finally broke their losing streak against Ireland, pipping the hosts by 22 runs in the third T20I in Belfast today.
Batters’ collective effort ensure a solid total for Afghanistan
After being put into bat, Afghanistan got off to a great start with Hazratullah Zazai (39 off 40) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (53 off 35) stitching a 90-run stand for the opening wicket. Despite both openers getting out in quick succession, runs kept flowing for the visitors, courtesy of an improved show by the middle-order batters.
Najibullah found his mojo back
While Ibrahim Zadran, continuing his glorious form, played an impressive 36-run knock, Najibullah Zadran provided the much-needed impetus towards the back end, smashing 42 runs off just 18 balls with the help of five humongous sixes.
Little was the most successful Irishman with the ball, picking two wickets for 29 runs.
Ireland fall short despite Dockrell’s late blitz
Chasing 190 was always going to be a daunting task for Ireland. To make the matter worse, they lost wickets continuously, which left them reeling at 85 for 7 in 12.2 overs.
However, George Dockrell and Fionn Hand counterattacked to perfection, adding 74 runs off just 38 balls for the eighth wicket.
Dockrell was applauded for his heroic knock
Their stupendous effort could just reduce the deficit as the hosts finished on 167 for nine wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Dockrell top-scored for Ireland with a blistering 37-ball 58*, while Hand contributed 36 runs.
Star fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq finally weaved his magic in the series, picking three wickets for 38 runs. Fazalhaq Farooqi was outstanding with the new ball as he scalped the crucial wickets of Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie, conceding just 11 runs.
Afghanistan: 189/5 (20)
Rahmanullah Gurbaz 53 (35), Najibullah Zadran 42 (18);
Joshua Little 2/29 (4), Fionn Hand 1/29 (3)
Ireland: 167/9 (20)
George Dockrell 58* (37), Fionn Hand 36 (18);
Naveen-ul-Haq 3/38 (4), Fazalhaq Farooqi 2/11 (2)
Afghanistan won by 22 runs.