Afghanistan will be full of confidence going into the final ODI against Ireland. Having already sealed the ODI series, the Asghar Afghan-led side will be looking for a clean sweep when the two sides face off in the third and final ODI at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
In the second ODI, Ireland put up a competitive total of 259 on the board, inspired by a sedate century from veteran batsman Paul Stirling. And, they would have fancied their chances after having reduced the Afghanistan side to 48/2. But then, they were definitely not ready for the sensational assault that came from the willows of Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi.
The duo was involved in a counter-attacking partnership of 184 runs and helped the Afghan side to romp home with 7 wickets to spare. Also, Naveen-ul-Haq and teenage spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman were outstanding with the ball for Afghanistan. While Naveen scalped four wickets, Mujeeb took three to continuously put the brakes on the Ireland batting line up.
Ireland will be looking to salvage some pride and avoid a series sweep by trying to register a win in the final ODI tomorrow.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium is one that will have purchase for the spinners. The batsmen will have to be wary of the turn that the spinners can get out of the wicket and spend some time out in the middle before unleashing themselves on the opposition. However once set, the batsmen can score big on this track.
Playing Combinations for AFG vs IRE
Afghanistan is most likely to retain the same playing XI that took the field in the second ODI against Ireland. Rahmanullah Gurbaz is coming off a century in the first ODI, and he will open alongside Javed Ahmadi, who got starts in both the games. Rahmat Shah and Hasmatullah are mandatory inclusions in the line-up after their superb show in the previous game.
Skipper Asghar Afghan and Mohammad Nabi will occupy the No.5 and No.6 slots respectively. They will be followed by Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran. The other three slots will be taken by world class spinner Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Naveen-ul-Haq.
Predicted XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (c), Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq.
For Ireland, veteran Paul Stirling has been in scintillating form, and is coming into the third ODI after a brilliant hundred in the previous game. Kevin O’Brien and skipper Andy Balbirnie were not amongst the runs in the first two matches and will be looking to contribute some runs in the final rubber.
Harry Tucker, Curtis Campher, Lorcan Tucker, and Gareth Delany will complete the batting line up for Ireland. Their bowling attack will consist of spinners Simi Singh and Any McBrine, with pacers Barry McCarthy and Craig Young occupying the final two slots.
Predicted XI: Paul Stirling, Kevin O’ Brien, Andy Balbarnie (C), Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Gareth Delany, Simi Singh, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Craig Young.
Probable Top Performers
Paul Stirling has been in sensational form in ODI cricket. In his last 5 ODI innings, the batting legend has scored three centuries. The 30-year-old acted as the fulcrum of the Irish batting line up in the previous game, and scored a magical 128, to help his side post a challenging total of 259 runs on the board. If he can fire in the third ODI as well, then Afghanistan will have their task cut out.
Naveen-ul-Haq has proved to be the star for the Afghanistan side with the ball in hand. In the first two ODI matches put together, the right arm pacer has taken 7 wickets. In the second ODI, he was the pick of the bowlers for his side, scalping 4 wickets and giving away just 42 runs from his 10 overs.
Rahmatullah Gurbaz made a scintillating debut in the ODI format by smashing a century in his first-ever ODI in Afghan colors. The 19-year-old scored 127 in the first game, to allow his side to post a 16-run victory over Ireland. Even in the second game, Gurbaz got a start and blazed away to 31, before Curtis Campher dismissed him. Expect Gurbaz to put up another riveting performance in the final ODI.
AFG vs IRE Broadcast Details
Match Timings: 11:30 AM IST
Live Streaming: FanCode
The prediction is for Afghanistan to win the match and take the series 3-0.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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