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Ireland vs Afghanistan, 2nd ODI Preview: Visiting side aim restore parity with a victory

Afghanistan will be desperate to get into the tournament with some momentum and this indeed is a great chance for them to gain some of it. 

Ireland players
Ireland players. (Photo Source: Twitter)

It wasn’t a happy beginning for the full-strength Afghanistan squad in Europe, who began their World Cup quest with a defeat against Ireland. A comprehensive bowling performance from the hosts saw the side finish on top in the first game but a side with the likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mohammad Shahzad can never be discarded.

Their batting seems to be the biggest problem for Afghanistan. They don’t have proper ODI batsmen in their setup who can maintain decent strikerates and play a long inning. They either have swashbuckling batters or the ones who play a little too slow, apart from Rahmat Shah who has shown some promise.

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Ireland cashed in on their weakness big time and managed to deliver a good result. They will not find it easy to replicate another such result considering how good the Afghans have been in recent past. They will be desperate to get into the tournament with some momentum and this indeed is a great chance for them to gain some of it.

Playing combinations

Ireland

No team would want to change a good winning combination, same applies with the Irish. Their bowling unit was sensational in the previous game and they will be desperate to continue that. James McCollum has not delivered in the opening slot yet but since Porterfield is getting runs at number four, they might not tweak the setup. Kevin O’Brien will continue to be an important presence in the middle order.

Predicted XI

Paul Stirling, James McCollum, Andrew Balbirnie, Wiliam Porterfield (C), Kevin O’Brien, Mark Adair, Gary Wilson (WK), George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin, Barry McCarthy, Tim Murtagh.

Afghanistan

They need one of their swashbuckling batters in Shahzad and Zazai to get going early on with one among Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi to stitch some decent partnerships. Their spin trio of Nabi, Rashid and Mujeeb were as usual brilliant in the previous game. Aftab Alam and Dawlat Zadran had a brilliant outing with the ball, especially in the death overs, a sign which should please skipper Naib.

Predicted XI

Mohammad Shahzad (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib (C), Mohammad Nabi, Dawlat Zadran/Hamid Hassan, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam.

Focus will be on

Boyd Rankin (Ireland)

After completing 100 wickets in ODI cricket, the Irish veteran Boyd Rankin is definitely riding high on confidence. He has been a huge presence in their side throughout their developmental phase and this achievement was a perfect cherry on the cake. His experience with the new ball will make him lethal and difficult to deal with for the batting unit.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)

Despite all the talent he possesses, Mujeeb Ur Rahman is in a way struggling to find his way through some of the intricacies he is facing. He did bowl beautifully in the previous game but failed to return with any wickets. His trickery is always a threat for any side and it won’t be easy for the other sides to get away from him. His rough patch is perhaps coming closer to an end.

Head to Head

Matches Played – 26 | Ireland won – 13 | Afghanistan won – 12 | No Result – 1

Stat Attack

61 – Rahmat Shah needs 61 runs to complete 2,000 runs in ODIs.

Broadcast Details

Live Streaming – YouTube

Match Timings – 15:15 IST; 10:45 local.

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