AFG v IRE, Intercontinental Cup Review: Afghanistan cruised to a comfortable win

AFG v IRE, Intercontinental Cup Review: Afghanistan cruised to a comfortable win

With this victory, the Afghan team is now sitting on top of the points table with 81 points from 5 matches

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan of Afghanistan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Having thrashed Ireland in both the ODI and T20 series, Afghanistan carried the momentum in the ICC Intercontinental Cup as well. They registered an easy win by an innings and 172 runs at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground. After scoring a massive 537 in the first innings, they weren’t required to bat again and dismissed the opposition twice on 261 and 104 in the first and the second innings.

They batted first after winning the toss but suffered an early loss as the opener Shabir Noori departed for 15. Mohammad Shahzad then constructed a wonderful partnership of 106 for the second wicket alongside Rahmat Shah. The wicket-keeper batsman made 85 off 130 balls before falling to John Anderson who picked up Shah as well after a few overs. The score read 174/3 as Asghar Stanikzai and Nasir Jamal got together in the middle.

They added 144 runs for the fourth wicket and built a solid platform for a big score. Where Jamal scored 73, the captain Stanikzai played a superb inning of 145. Later in the innings, Afsar Zazai too notched up a century and scored 103 runs unbeaten and put together a stand of 109 runs with Dawlat Zadran for the ninth wicket. Having reached a massive 537/8, they declared the innings and had a firm grip on the match.

Ireland in reply had the worst possible start as their captain William Porterfield was dismissed for just 4 in the third over. Ed Joyce and Andrew Balbirnie combined well for the second wicket and added 117 runs with latter scoring 62 runs. The Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan was then into the act and inflicted a collapse in the innings that was gaining stability.

He picked up five wickets and from 123/2, Ireland were bowled out for 261. John Anderson was the only man who survived the assault and remained unbeaten on 61. Rashid ended up with figures of 5/99 as the opposition fell short of the follow-on target by 77 runs. Going by their dismal batting show, Afghanistan asked them to bat again having a huge lead of 276 runs.

The Irish batting went from bad to worse and once again their captain was the first to go for 8. Dawlat Zadran was the bowler who accounted for his wicket and it was the only scalp that the fast bowlers claimed. Mohammad Nabi then bowled a terrific spell and picked up 6 wickets for just 40 runs. Rashid backed up his great show of the first innings and took 3 wickets in the second.

Ireland were all out for a mere 104 in just 40 overs as none of the batsmen could go past the score of 15. Afghanistan continued their domination and won the match by a humungous margin of an innings and 72 runs.With this victory, the Asian team is now sitting on top of the points table with 81 points from 5 matches whereas Ireland are just behind them in second place with 80 points.

Brief Scores

Afghanistan 1st innings: 537/8 dec (Asghar Stanikzai 145, Afsar Zazai 103, George Dockrell 3/160)

Ireland 1st innings: 261 all-out (Andrew Balbirnie 62, Rashid Khan 5/99)

Ireland 2nd innings: 104 all-out (Mohammad Nabi 6/40, Rashid Khan 3/44)

Afghanistan won by an innings and 72 runs