AFG v IRE, 1st T20I, Review: Shenwari and Shahzad make light work of Ireland bowlers
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The Afghan Tigers thrashed Ireland by 7 wickets in the 1st T20I at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground to go 1-0 up in the 3 match series. Irish captain William Porterfield won the toss and opted to bat. Ireland got off to the worst possible start, losing Paul Stirling in the 4th ball of innings. He attempted a slog sweep of Amir Hamza and missed it altogether. It breached his defence and disturbed the timbers.
Captain Porterfield joined William Thomson in the middle and began with a delightful shot to start of his innings. Thomson then smashed Shapoor Zadran for a couple of boundaries in the 3rd over. The 6th over from Mohammad Nabi was the most expensive as the off-spinner conceded 21 runs. He was smashed for a hat-trick of fours and a six by both the batsmen. At the end of the powerplay, Ireland reached 48/1.
Boundaries came thick and fast as the duo of Thompson and Porterfield was looking in complete control of proceedings. After making a well made 56 of 35 deliveries Thomson departed of the bowling of Amir Hamza. Kevin O’Brien joined Porterfield in the middle but the captain departed in the 13th over after scoring 39 of 30 balls. Rashid Khan dismissed Kevin O’Brien with a great delivery as Ireland reached 114/4 at the end of the 15th over.
Wicket-keeper batsman Gary Wilson came out in the middle and struck some wonderful shots which got the run rate up considerably. The right-hander struck 3 boundaries of Shapoor Zadran in the 19th over and struck a gigantic six of Mohammad Nabi in the final over to take Ireland to a competitive total of 165/4 at the end of their allotted 20 overs. Amir Hamza was the chief destroyer for Afghanistan who finished with impressive figures of 2/23 in 4 overs.
Chasing 166 to go 1-0 up in the 3 match series, openers Mohammad Shahzad and Najeeb Tarakai looked in ominous touch. Shahzad began with a couple of boundaries in the first over and followed it up with a couple more in the very next over. Meanwhile, Najeeb Tarakai also struck a big six of George Dockrell in the 2nd over.
Afghanistan lost their first wicket in the final delivery of the 5th over but not before the duo raced their way to a 50 runs partnership which set the foundation for the run chase. Samiullah Shenwari joined Shahzad in the middle and struck 3 consecutive boundaries to announce his arrival in the middle. Shenwari raced off to 20 of the first 8 deliveries he faced. At the end of the 10th over, Afghanistan was comfortably placed at 93/1 with the duo of Shahzad and Shenwari going great guns.
Shenwari then struck Jacob Mulder for two big sixes in the 11th over. After sharing a 73 runs partnership for the 2nd wicket, Shahzad was run out but Afghanistan was within touching distance of the target. Kevin O’Brien conceded 27 runs in the 16th over and Shenwari and Asghar Stanikzai smashed the bowler all around Greater Noida.
The Asian minnows eventually reached the target in the 18th over and it was a pretty comprehensive victory in the end. Kevin O’Brien and Craig Young were the two wicket-takers for Ireland.
Ireland 165/4 in 20 overs (Stuart Thompson 56, Amir Hamza 2/23)
Afghanistan 171/4 in 18 overs (Samiullah Shenwari 56, Mohammad Shahzad 47, Craig Young 1/30)
Afghanistan won by 6 wickets (with 12 balls remaining)