Afghanistan had their fair share of luck in the opening T20I against Ireland at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground. After raining interrupted in the second-half, the hosts, led by Asghar Afghan, came out trumps by 11 runs (DLS Method). Rashid Khan’s four-wicket haul and Najibullah Zadran’s 21-ball 42 played a major role in the home team, taking a crucial 1-0 lead in the series.
The second game is scheduled to be played at the same venue on Sunday, March 8 and it’s a chance for the Afghans to pocket the series. Ireland, on the other hand, were in a commanding position after the 63-run opening wicket stand between Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien. But things went pear-shaped for them. It remains to be seen if the visitors are able to stage a comeback next time around.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch in Greater Noida turned out to be good for batting and runs will be on offer without a doubt. But Rashid’s spell showed that spinners are likely to get some assistance. Batting second should be the way forward. The conditions will be on the hazy side but with no chances of rain. The temperature will be around the 24 degrees Celsius mark. The humidity will mostly be in the 40s.
The Afghans have to put some focus on their batting after they were reduced to 70 for four after 55 for no loss. Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz got runs in the 20s, but were unable to convert their starts. The move to promote Karim Janat didn’t work as he had a strike-rate of 50.
The skipper will also wish to make amends after his run out without even facing a ball. In the bowling attack, the onus will be on Rashid, but his spin partner Mujeeb Ur Rahman needs to put forth a better show. The pace trio of Janat, Gulbadin Naib and Shapoor Zadran have to perform as well.
Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Asghar Afghan (C), Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Shapoor Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Ireland need to find out a way of not giving Rashid enough wickets and also getting runs off him. Paul Stirling scored 60 and even O’Brien smashed a 17-ball 35. But after that, the batting went into bit of a slump. It was only because of Harry Tector’s 29 that the Irishmen crossed the 170-run mark.
In the bowling department, Simi Singh’s role will be important as he got rid of both the openers last time around. Joshua Little and Craig Young were fairly decent as well. George Dockrell and Boyd Rankin, the veterans, gave runs at 11 an over. The leg-spin of Gareth Delany will also be important.
Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien, Andrew Balbirnie (C), Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Simi Singh, George Dockrell , Craig Young, Boyd Rankin, Joshua Little
Probable Top Performers
Hazratullah Zazai – Afghanistan| Paul Stirling– Ireland
Live Streaming – rtasports.live
Match Timings – 14:00 IST & local; 08:30 GMT
The prediction is for Afghanistan to win the match.
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