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Ire v Afg, 3rd ODI Preview: Ireland hope to claw back into the series

Mohammad Shahzad Afghanistan
Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad celebrates with fans after Afghanistan won by 78 runs. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Ireland will hope to put in a much-improved all-round performance when they meet the confident Afghanistan at the Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont at Belfast. The ODI saw the visitors easily overcome the hosts by 39 runs to take a 1-0 up in the 5 match series. The hosts were on course to a victory. However, things soon changed after the Afghanistan side came back into the game wonderfully in the middle overs and rolled over the opposition completely.

The series is important for both the side. Ireland despite losing the second ODI has a chance to break into the top 10 of the ODI ranking if they manage to beat the visitors in all the remaining games. Whereas, if Afghanistan, who are currently the 10th ranked team, give away the upcoming matches, they find themselves out of the top 10.

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Ireland:

Ireland was let by their lacklustre batting the previous game. Despite a strong start to the chase, the Irishmen went on to lose their last 5 wickets for just 22 runs and eventually lost a game which was, at one point, totally in their favor. John Anderson, Stuart Poynter were complete letdowns and must bat with more responsibility in the upcoming game.

The middle order too got off to starts but failed to make it big and help their team chase the total. The bowlers overall did a satisfying job. There were economical and also picked regular wickets to keep the explosive Afghan batsman under control.

Afghanistan:

Afghanistan, too, has batting issues. A total of seven batsmen got into double figures but failed to capitalise. Had Mohammad Shahzad and Najibullah Zadran not hit half-centuries, the story would have been miserable for the visitors in the second ODI. The middle order shows fragility.

The likes of Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, and Mohammad Nabi need to bat with more compactness. Their bowling looks completely perfect at the moment. Spinner Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan shared 6 wickets between them and broke the back of the opposition batting order. Mirwais Ashraf, who triggered the collapse and Dawlat Zadran snapped two wickets each.

Probable XI-

Ireland:

William Porterfield (C), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, John Anderson, Kevin O’Brien, Stuart Poynter (WK), Andy McBrine, George Dockrell, Barry McCarthy, Tim Murtagh, Peter Chase

Afghanistan:

Asghar Stanikzai (C), Mohammad Shahzad (WK), Noor Ali Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Mirwais Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran

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