Afghanistan in Ireland, 5 T20I Series, 2022 |1st T20I |8/9/2022 Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast
That's it then from this game. The series has only begun but it is Ireland who have taken a 1-0 lead over Afghanistan in the five-match T20I series. The visitors will look to bounce back and level the series or else they will be left with too much to do. The hosts though will look to increase their lead and get one step closer to a series win. The 2nd T20I will be played on the 11th of August and it will begin at 8 pm IST (2.30 pm GMT). Our build-up though will begin much sooner. Till then, take care and goodbye!
The captain of Afghanistan, Mohammad Nabi says that they haven't played a game together for more than a month. Adds that it was a good game and they were short 15-20 runs but Ireland played really well. Says that Usman Ghani played really well and he has been doing really well domestically. Mentions that they have some work to do with their lines and lengths in the Powerplay and towards the end.
Andy Balbirnie (51 runs off 38 balls), the Irish skipper is the PLAYER OF THE MATCH for his brilliant innings. He says that to get a win is great and they have played well against top teams and it is good to get over the finish line finally. He says that he worked hard and tried to play his game. He ends by saying it was good to get some runs and he will look to continue this form. Balbirnie then comes back on to chat as the skipper of the winning side and says that they are absolutely thrilled by the victory. He says that they bowled pretty well and the batters also did well and chased down the target with wickets in hand. He adds that it is important to use the Powerplay and they did that against a very good bowling attack. He says that everyone sticked to their roles and performed them perfectly.
The Presentation ceremony...
Earlier in the day, after electing to bat, Afghanistan put up a decent score on the board courtesy Usman Ghani at the top and Ibrahim Zadran down the order. That though was chased down as Ireland put in a combined batting effort.
Afghanistan will be disappointed. Their bowling is what they thrive on and that is what let them down. The 5th bowler is what proved to be expensive for them. The likes of Mohammad Nabi and Azmatullah Omarzai went for runs. Naveen-ul-Haq too had a day to forget even after starting off with a maiden. One wonders, why was Mujeeb Ur Rahman not given his full quota. That was quite surprising.
The openers provided the start for Ireland, they added 50 and that too in the Powerplay itself. However, the stand that took away the game from the visitors was the one between Lorcan Tucker and Andy Balbirnie! Both played the sweep shot really well and managed to score a boundary almost every over. They added over 60 runs with both scoring fifties. That turned the tide in the favor of the hosts completely. Afghanistan did make a comeback though by bowling a few tight overs but in the end, it was Harry Tector and George Dockrell who played brilliantly and took their side over the line.
What a win! What a win for Ireland! They have ended their losing streak and in some style! Trust me, this was not an easy target to chase. We felt that Afghanistan got 15 runs more but Ireland have gunned it down really well.
Naveen-ul-Haq to George Dockrell, FOUR! That's it, George Dockrell finishes things off in style and Ireland have won the game with just one ball remaining! Banged in short and over middle, Dockrell gets on top of the bounce and pulls it well in front of mid-wicket to find the fence. Ireland win by 7 wickets!
Naveen-ul-Haq to George Dockrell, FOUR! Oh, no! It is a brilliant effort in the deep but it has gone for a boundary. Another slower delivery, fuller and on off. George Dockrell punches it back past the bowler and the fielder from long on runs to his left to dive it and cut it off. The momentum though was such that the fielder ended up parrying the ball into the ropes. Just 2 needed now off 2 deliveries.
Naveen-ul-Haq to Harry Tector, What a cracking delivery from Naveen-ul-Haq! Nails the toe-crushing yorker and Tector somehow manages to get a bat on it. The ball rolls towards square leg as the batters sneak in a single.
Naveen-ul-Haq to Harry Tector, FOUR! The game keeps on swinging like a pendulum. Slower ball, on a length and outside off. Harry Tector picks it up and holds his shape before crunching it over extra cover for a boundary. 7 needed now off 4 balls.
Naveen-ul-Haq seems to be struggling a bit. On the other side, Harry Tector is also seen in some discomfort. The physios are in to check and provide the required treatment. Both of them looks fine now and we are ready to continue.
Naveen-ul-Haq to Harry Tector, Well bowled and well ran in the end as well. This is on a hard length and angling into the body. Harry Tector mistimes the pull shot in front of mid-wicket and races back for two. Tector dives in and seems to have hurt himself a bit here.
END OF OVER 19 | 10 Runs & 0 Wkt | IRE 156/3
Naveen-ul-Haq will bowl the last over. It is a nail biting finish. Can he defend 12 runs?
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Harry Tector, A brilliant comeback in the over from Fazalhaq Farooqi! It's the yorker again, outside off and Harry Tector heaves it off the inner half of the bat towards wide long on for a single. 13 needed now off the final 6 deliveries.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to George Dockrell, Pitches it up now, a bit in the slot and on off stump, Dockrell drills it down to long off for one. Dockrell will be disappointed that he didn't do more with that one.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to George Dockrell, Excellent from Farooqi! Nails the wide yorker and George Dockrell gets beaten on the inside edge as he looks to squeeze it out.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Harry Tector, Pce on this time, full and wide, Tector drives it firmly towards deep cover for just a single.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to Harry Tector, SIX! Probably a game-changing blow from Harry Tector! This is another slower ball, dug into the pitch and over middle and leg. Tector picks it up and pulls it a long way in front of mid-wicket for a huge hit. The ball is lost as well. 16 needed now off 10 balls.
Fazalhaq Farooqi to George Dockrell, Starts off with a length ball, slower in pace and around off. Dockrell plays it on the up and towards long off for a single.
END OF OVER 18 | 10 Runs & 1 Wkt | IRE 146/3
George Dockrell is the next man in.
Naveen-ul-Haq to Lorcan Tucker, OUT! TAKEN! Fifty and out for Lorcan Tucker. This is full and around off, in the slot as well, Lorcan Tucker moves across and slog-sweeps it towards the deep mid wicket fence. As it is the longer side, the ball goes high in the air but does not go the distance. Rashid Khan there settles under it and takes a nice catch. 23 runs needed in 12 balls now. We are in for a thrilling finish.