Afghanistan vs Ireland, 4th ODI Preview: After an unexpected setback, Afghans aim to regain authority
Ireland hunt to stay alive in the series while the hosts aim to deliver a killer blow.
Updated - Mar 7, 2019 6:22 pm
After all the success they had in the T20I series and the first two ODIs, Afghanistan stuttered in the 3rd ODI courtesy of a stupendous knock from Andy Balbirnie. He was the key unlocking Afghanistan’s spin mystery and enveloped all their strength before giving the visiting team a hint of hope in the series.
It’s not easy to get going so smoothly against this spin attack and the Irish batter showed great resilience after getting outdone so many times in the tour. Although this is a great confidence booster for the side, they cannot disregard the danger wounded beasts can cause.
Afghan batters did a decent job in the third ODI with Najibullah Zadran scoring a fantastic hundred and skipper Asghar Afghan registering a 109-ball 75. Their main strength- the bowling attack- wasn’t strong enough to defend 257 but that might not be a case getting repeated frequently.
Not a lot of changes are expected in the line up as Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai will continue opening for the hosts. Rahmat Shah will walk in at number 3 with Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari forming the middle order. One among Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman might open with the new ball alongside Gulbadin Naib and Dawlat Zadran.
Predicted XI: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (C), Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Dawlat Zadran/Shapoor Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Skipper Porterfield will kick-start the innings with swashbuckling Paul Stirling. Their in-form presence Andrew Balbirnie will come in at number 3 and will be followed by Andy McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, Simi Singh, and Stuart Poynter. George Dockrell will be their only spinner accompanied by the three-man pace attack, constituting Tim Murtagh, Barry McCarthy, and Boyd Rankin.
Predicted XI: William Porterfield (C), Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie, Andy McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, Simi Singh, Stuart Poynter (WK), George Dockrell, Tim Murtagh, Barry McCarthy, Boyd Rankin.
Focus will be on
Hazratullah Zazai (Afghanistan)
Hazratullah Zazai is still a long distance away from achieving the kind of greatness he would want, but he’s certainly on the right path moving at the right pace. With the World Cup just a few months away, his form is a huge bonus for the underdog-side who is desperate to cause some concerns for the big teams. He is giving Afghanistan a good start pretty much every game.
Andrew Balbirnie (Ireland)
It’s not the titanic knock, but how you back it up in the coming knocks determines your character. Andrew Balbirnie has a huge task cut out but he showed great temperament alongside his stellar strokeplay in the 3rd ODI. There’s no denying he cannot repeat that but however, it will be interesting to see how he copes with the pressure of expectations.
80 – Runs Asghar Afghan needs to complete 2,000 ODI runs.
55 – Runs Paul Stirling needs to become only the second Irish cricketer to surpass 3,500 runs.
TV – DSport
Online Streaming: Rabbitholebd
Match Timings – 13:00 IST and local