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Twitter Reactions: Mohammad Shahzad and Gulbadin Naib shine as Afghanistan register a big win against the Irish

They delivered a top-class batting and bowling performance in Belfast, which saw them finish the series on level terms eventually. 

Mohammad Shahzad
Mohammad Shahzad. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The last performance for the Afghanistan side had to be a passing cloud considering the amount of quality existing in the side. They delivered a top-class batting and bowling performance in the second ODI against Ireland in Belfast, which saw them finish the series on level terms eventually.

Afghanistan got off to a flying start with Mohammad Shahzad striking the new ball around. Although he lost his partner Noor Ali Zadran early, Rahmat Shah stitched a fantastic partnership with the swashbuckling opener to help the side get into a dominant position. Shahzad completed a fifty in no time whilst Rahmat Shah kept playing the second fiddle.

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With a single off Boyd Rankin in the 31st over, Shahzad completed his 6th ODI hundred. Their partnership accounted for 150 runs for the second wicket which came to the end in the 32nd over with Shahzad’s dismissal. In the same over, Rahmat Shah too was sent back, putting the visiting side in certain trouble.

Although some quick wickets fell, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Najibullah Zadran played a couple of brilliant hands to see them through to a big score. Shahidi scored 47 whilst Najibullah remained unbeaten on 60 off just 33 balls as Afghanistan finished with 305/7 in their 50 overs. Mark Adair picked up three wickets for the hosts.

Captain leads from the front with the ball

Paul Stirling had a fine summer thus far and continued his purple patch with another good knock. Although he compiled a decent 50 off 56 balls, he found no partner to stick around for a long time. The only decent partnership he had was with Andy Balbirnie, with whom he registered 48 runs for the third wicket.

Skipper Gulbadin Naib broke this partnership by removing both players in quick succession. His onslaught didn’t finish soon as he gave a very hard time for the Irish middle order. Although the likes of Gary Wilson and William Porterfield got starts, no one built on it to score big. Once they lost their fifth wicket in Porterfield, it was evident they were not going to last long.

Despite Gary Wilson batting till the end, Ireland could only manage 179 runs on the board in 41.2 overs. Gulbadin Naib was the star of the show, who returned with career-best figures of 6/43. Afghanistan will now be heading straight to Bristol, where they will be playing their first World Cup warm-up match against Pakistan.

Here’s how Twitter reacted:

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