Afghanistan claimed a winning lead of 2-0 in the 3-match T20I series against Ireland after a close 21-run win on Sunday. The Afghans had an opening stand of 57 runs that came in 8.4 overs. However, skipper Asghar Afghan’s 49 off 28 balls played a key role in pressing the accelerator button. They eventually finished with 184/4 with contributions from other batters. The required rate of 9.25 was too high for the visitors after both the openers fell inside the first five overs of the chase. Captain Andrew Balbirnie was the top-scorer with a 35-ball 46 for the Irish team who were limited to 163/6.
All the statistical highlights Afghanistan’s second straight win against Ireland in the T20I series:
Afghanistan continues its dominance over Ireland:
14 – Afghanistan won 14 out of 17 matches they played against Ireland in the T20I format; the most number of T20I wins for any team in Men’s cricket against an opponent. Australia (vs SA), India (vs SL) and Pakistan (vs SL and NZ) won 13 matches apiece in T20Is.
12 – Afghanistan won all the 12 matches they played against Ireland in T20I cricket since the start of 2017. This is the longest streak for any team in Men’s T20I cricket against an opponent. The previous longest streak in Men’s T20Is is Pakistan’s 11 matches against Zimbabwe.
4 – Afghanistan now has won all the four bilateral series they played against Ireland in the T20I format. Afghanistan also won all the five bilateral T20I series they played on the Indian soil.
Afghanistan’s top-order contributes:
1 – Each of Afghanistan’s top four scored 25+ runs in this match; the first such instance for the Afghans in a T20I game. This is overall the 9th occasion for Afghanistan where four of their batters scored 25+ runs in a T20I match.
184/4 – Afghanistan’s total of 184/4 is their 3rd highest T20I total without an individual half-century. Asghar Afghan’s 28-ball 49 was the highest individual score during Afghanistan’s innings. They posted 189/7 against UAE with a highest individual score of 44 in the 2016 Dubai T20I and 187/7 against Zimbabwe in 2016 Sharjah T20I with a best score of 42.
Contrasting partnerships for the Afghans:
6.57 – The opening stand of 57 between Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz came in 8.4 overs at a run-rate of 6.57. This is the 2nd slowest 50-run opening stand in the T20I format for Afghanistan. Mohammad Shahzad and Noor Ali Zadran put on 70 in 10.4 overs against Hong Kong during the 2016 WT20 game at a run-rate of 6.56.
14.80 – Asghar Afghan and Mohammad Nabi shared 74 runs for the 3rd wicket in only five overs at a run-rate of 14.8. This is the 2nd highest for Afghanistan in a 50+ partnership in T20I cricket. Nabi added 107 runs in 40 balls with Najibullah Zadran at a run-rate of 16.05 for the 5th wicket during the recent T20I Tri-series game against Zimbabwe.
Another expensive spell by Little:
4 – Josh Little conceded 40+ runs in a T20I match on four instances; the joint-most such occasions by any Ireland player. Peter Chase and Barry McCarthy also conceded 40+ runs in four T20I games. All the four times Little conceded 40+ runs were against Afghanistan only. Tim Southee (5 vs India) is the only player to concede 40+ runs in a T20I match against an opponent more than four times.
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