Afghanistan v Ireland, 2nd ODI, Review: McCarthy's five-for, Stirling's fifty helps the Irish level series

Afghanistan v Ireland, 2nd ODI, Review: McCarthy’s five-for, Stirling’s fifty helps the Irish level series

The series now stands leveled at 1-1 with one more match to play.

Paul Stirling
Paul Stirling of Ireland bats. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After putting up an absolutely no show in the first ODI with either bat or the ball, team Ireland had a point to prove when they took on Afghanistan in the second match of the 3-match ODI series. The Irish side has been one of the most improved sides in world cricket over the last decade. However, they have always found the Afghanistan challenge to be a little too much to handle. In this game, they had to win in order to survive in the series.

Things started on a merry note for them on the day as William Porterfield won the toss and opted to bat first. Porterfield and Paul Stirling managed to see out the threat of rookie Mujeeb Zadran, their tormentor of the first ODI. They soon started to cut loose. Stirling, in particular, was the aggressor in the partnership. The openers added 115 runs for the first wicket in 131 balls before Gulbadin Naib dismissed Porterfield in the 22nd over on 47 that came off 63 deliveries.

Mujeeb struck in the very next over to send Andrew Balbirnie on 4. Meanwhile, Stirling continued his good show in the game to score yet another fifty. He was dismissed in the 32nd over by Rashid Khan. Stirling made 82 off just 96 deliveries with 8 boundaries and a six. Rashid dismissed Gary Wilson for a golden duck on the very next ball to dent the Irish innings.

Wickets continued to tumble as the Irish innings dipped from 160/2 to 217/7. George Dockrell, however, managed to hold one end to keep the hopes of the visitors alive. Dockrell’s unbeaten 62 off 48 with 7 fours and a six provided the much needed flourish to the Irish innings that ended with 271/9 on the board. For the Afghanistan side, Mujeeb, Dawlat Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, and Rashid Khan bagged two wickets each.

And the run chase

In the run chase, Afghanistan were expected to cruise along with ease, as they did in the previous game. They started off on a confident note but soon lost the plot. Openers Javed Ahmadi and Ihsanullah Janat added 46 for the opening stand before Barry McCarthy castled Janat for 20 (29). Rahmat Shah joined Ahmadi at the crease and the duo nurdled around for some valuable runs.

McCarthy struck again in the 22nd over to send back Ahmadi on 48 (67). Rahmat (32) and skipper Asghar Stanikzai (12) followed soon after as George Dockrell and Tim Murtagh accounted for their respective dismissals. After that, the innings looked in some trouble with 130/4. Mohammad Nabi (29) and Nasir Jamal (25) then added a fifty run stand for the fifth wicket.

But once that was broken with Nabi’s dismissal in Peter Chase’s over, the Afghanistan innings crashed. Nabi scored 29 and Jamal accounted for 25 runs. Wickets kept falling and the innings eventually wrapped up at 220 in 45.2 overs to concede a 51-run win for Ireland. It was Barry McCarthy who bagged 5/46 to be the star of the show with the ball. The series now stands leveled at 1-1 with one more match to play.

Brief Scores:

Ireland 271/9 in 50 overs (Stirling 82, Dockrell 62, Rashid 2/40, Mujeeb 2/50)

Afghanistan 220/10 in 45.2 overs (Ahmadi 48, Rahmat 32, McCarthy 5/46, Chase 2/45)