Ireland did not registered just a series win to their name last night, but a historic win as they won their first ever One-day International series as a full member. After losing the first ODI after a batting collapse, Ireland managed to win the last two matches of the ODI series.
Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Tim Murtagh made the first breakthrough after dismissing Javed Ahmadi in the 7th over. Boyd Rankin also took a wicket in the next over as both of the Afghani openers were sent back to the pavilion. Rahmat Shah resisted the pressure very well but no one else could accompany him to set a decent partnership. Rahmat Shah scored 44 runs. Rashid Khan later in the line-up scored handy 44 runs off 51 balls until Aghanistan were all-out for 177 in the 49th over.
The former Somerset man, Goerge Dockrell took 4 wickets for just 29 runs in his 9 overs. While Durham’s Barry McCarthy took 3 wickets for 32 runs. Stirling, Murtagh and Rankins took one wicket each. Ireland required 178 runs for 50 overs.
Ireland were off to a quick start until the Irish captain, Poterfield was dismissed by cricket’s new sensation, Mujeeb Zadran. Paul Stirling and Balbirinie went on setting a 69 runs partnership on the 3rd wicket until Balbirinie was dismissed for dismissed for 35. On the other side, Stirling kept on hitting the ball as hard as he could. Stirling went on scoring 6th century of his ODI career which helped Ireland to chase the target with the loss of 5 wickets in the 38th over.
Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan took 2 wickets while Mujeeb Zadran bagged only 1 wicket.
Paul Stirling was Man of the Match as well as Man of the Series.
“All credit to Paul and the bowlers, the way we bounced back after the loss in the first game. It was a great knock from Paul, set us off for the winning total with some incredible hitting. Our bowlers have taken wickets at very crucial phases of the game and that’s one area where we can draw some positives. It feels nice to have to won the series 2-1.” said the Irish captain William Poterfield.
Afghanistan’s captain, Asghar Stinakzai congratulated Ireland for the victory as he said ” Congratulations to Ireland. We won a very good toss, but there were a lot of poor shots from our batsmen. We take our time in the middle before unleashing, but unfortunately it didn’t work out today. Our next games are very important. Against Zimbabwe first and then the World Cup qualifiers. We will try to rectify our mistakes when we play next. Thanks to all the spectators for turning out in great numbers.”
After becoming the full member of the ICC, this is the first time Ireland has won a series. With the number of talent being found day by day, and looking at the numbers of players being part of the county cricket, shows how much a better side they still can be.