IRE vs AFG, 4th T20I: Najibullah, Rashid help Afghanistan pip Ireland in a rain-curtailed encounter
Najibullah Zadran played a crucial knock for Afghanistan
With the help of Najibullah Zadran's fiery fifty and Rashid Khan's overall performance, Afghanistan managed to get past their Irish counterparts by 27 runs in an 11 overs-per-side contest.
Afghani batters took bowlers to cleaners
Already delayed due to rain, the match was decided to be played as an 11 overs-a-side contest where Ireland opted to bowl first.
Afghanistan had a decent start with the bat, where they mustered 37 inside three overs before losing Gurbaz (24) to Barry McCarthy. Two more batters, Ibrahim Zadran (1) and Hazratullah Zazai (6), followed suit as they returned to the pavilion cheaply in the fourth over, bowled by Gareth Delany.
Najibullah came to the crease and gave his side much-needed revival by putting up 50 from just 24 deliveries with three sixes. The last surge was provided by Rashid Khan 31 (10), whose exploits in the final few overs took the Asian nation to 132. Delany did take three wickets, but his economy, along with all the other bowlers, was above 10.
Ireland surrenders to Afghani bowling attack
Chasing 133, Ireland went all-guns blazing with Paul Stirling (20) and skipper Andy Balbirnie (15) smacking five fours and a six in the first nine deliveries before the latter perished. After that, the wickets kept falling from one end, with Fareed Ahmad Malik being the chief destructor with three scalps.
The only real and valiant fight for the hosts was shown by George Dockrell, who smashed 27-ball-41 not out when the target was looking far-fetched. However, lacking support from the other end, the Irish batting attack other than Dockrell couldn't really do much as the spinners easily dominated the innings.
In the end, Ireland could reach 105 losing all their wickets and falling 27 short of the target. Both the teams will now go into the final T20I with the series levelled at 2-2.