Twitter Reactions: Afghanistan draws the first blood in the T20I series against Ireland

Twitter Reactions: Afghanistan draws the first blood in the T20I series against Ireland

Hazratullah Zazai scored a 22-ball fifty which is the joint-second fastest for Afghanistan.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Afghanistan’s ascent in international cricket is continuing. The team is touring Ireland for a 3-match T20I series which will be followed by 3 ODIs. The first T20I between these two sides was played at the Bready Cricket Club in Northern Ireland. The visitors managed to draw the first blood in the series by winning the first T20I by 16 runs.

With this win, Afghanistan has won all the 6 T20Is they played this year making it a 100 per cent record thus far. The match was reduced the 18-overs per side after the start was delayed to rain. In this shortened game, Ireland had the advantage as they won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Hazratullah Zazai sets the stage on fire

Usually, we expect Mohammad Shahzad to provide the Afghanistan team with some aggressive start to the innings. However, it was someone else who did this job this time around. Hazratullah Zazai, who was playing just his 2nd T20I opened the innings for the Afghans and played some glorious shots. He faced 33 balls out of the first 44 balls in the innings and scored 74 runs in as many deliveries. He hit 8 fours and 6 sixes in this while.

But, as soon as he got out in the 8th over, Afghanistan’s innings only went down the hill. Shahzad was run out after he scored 29 off 21 balls. Also, skipper Stanikzai couldn’t capitalise on the start and got out for 31 runs. Ireland bowlers kept chipping in with regular wickets and Afghanistan would have been utterly disappointed with their performance in the last few only. They only scored 10 runs in the last 3 overs and lost 4 wickets thus ending up with 160 runs on the board.

Rashid-Mujeeb duo does the job for Afghanistan

Going into the second innings, the momentum was on Ireland’s side having made such a good come back in the first innings. However, the biggest threat for them lied in the form of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. They had to deal well against these two if they were to win the game. However, that wasn’t to be the case as Mujeeb picked two wickets in his first two overs sending Stuart Thompson and William Porterfield back.

Although the Irish batsmen went hard after Rashid Khan, they couldn’t restrict him from picking wickets. Even though the leg-spinner gave away 35 runs in his 4 overs, he picked three crucial wickets putting breaks on the scoring rates. Aftab Alam also joined in with two wickets while Fareed Ahmad and Mohammad Nabi picked one wicket each. Afghanistan won the game by 16 runs thus taking a 1-0 lead in the series.

Twitterati was happy to see Rashid and Mujeeb back in the Afghan colours and doing well. They also praised Zazai for his blistering innings. Aftab Alam plucked an unbelievable catch and quite a few talks also surrounded him. The tweeple also lashed out at Shahzad for his fitness levels and his poor running between the wickets.

Here is how Twitter reacted: