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Ire v Afg, 3rd ODI Review: Ireland scripts a memorable win to level the series

Ed Joyce
Ed Joyce of Ireland. (Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

While a majority of the cricket fans’ eyes were glued to the action happening in Lord’s, Ireland came back from an early slump and scripted a wonderful win over Afghanistan at the Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast. Ed Joyce’s unbeaten 105 and Kevin O Brien’s watchful 75 ensured that hosts chased down the modest 237 runs target and register a smooth 6 wickets win to level the series 1-1.

After being put into bat, the tourists could manage only a functional 236 in the first innings after looking set to post a challenging total on the board. Mohammad Shahzad was once the hero with the bat and smacked a cautious 81 runs knock. He held the Afghan innings together till the mid-way stage of the game after they lost opener Javed Ahmadi cheaply. The whole story could have been different had Shahzad received support from his peers.

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Apart from the 76 runs stand with Asghar Stanikzai, there was no real partnership at the top. Eventually, both of them lost their wicket in the 32nd over when the score was just 143. The Irishmen had got hold of the match completely at this stage.

However, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan came to the rescue and helped their team put up something reasonable for their bowlers to defend.

Hamid Hassan opening spell raised hopes of a win. The fast bowler snapped William Porterfield and debutant Sean Terry in successive overs to give the vital early breakthroughs. Stuart Poynter shortly fell to the off-spin of Mohammad Nabi as Ireland were reduced to 29/3.

But, fortunately, Joyce and Kevin o Brien were in top notch form today and put together a match-winning 142 runs stand for the 4th wicket to steady the ship and bring the hosts closer to the victory. It was a sensible display of cricket from both the batsmen who brilliantly rescued their team from danger and set the stage for the win. The pair wich came together in the 9th over batted sturdily till the 38th over of the game before they were separated by Dawlat Zadran who took the wicket of Kevin O’Brien.

A win was still far away and Afghanistan still fancied a chance to claw back and snatch a victory. However, Paul Stirling then sped up the process with his aggressive 37 ball 39 runs knock. Joyce also brought up his century en route to the memorable win in 48th over just two balls before hitting the winning runs.

Brief Scores:

Afghanistan: 236 all out in 49.1 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 81; Kevin O’Brien 3/28)

Ireland: 237/4 in 47.3 overs (ED Joyce 105; Hamid Hasan 2/21)

Man of the Match: ED Joyce

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