IRE vs AFG 2nd T20I: Afghanistan revived their hopes to record a series win against Ireland as they won the third T20I by 22 runs to trail by 1-2 and stay alive in the five-match series. A trailblazing all-round performance helped Mohammed Nabi & co. to survive a tough Irish scare.
Winning the toss at Stormont, Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie made an insignificant decision to field first. Batting first, Afghanistan recorded a marvelous total of 189/5 in their 20 overs.
Afghanistan was off to a solid start as Hazratullah (39) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (53) recorded a stunning 90-run partnership for the first wicket. Aftermath, Ibrahim Zadran (36) and Najibullah Zadran (42) ensured that the momentum provided by the openers was not broken as they put up a vital 58-run stand for the third wicket. Their crucial 58-run stan took Afghanistan close to the 200-run mark.
For Ireland, Joshua Little starred the bowling attack with a figure of 2/29. Mark Adair (1/42) and Finn Hand (1/29) chipped in a wicket apiece.
Chasing a steep total of 190, Irish openers Paul Stirling (0) and skipper Andrew Balbirnie (1) failed to provide the start they needed. Lorcan Tucker (31) stood strong at an end as wickets continued to tumble at the other end with Harry Tector (3), Curtis Campher (8) and Gareth Delany (16) failing to make a contribution.
In the end, it was a crucial 74-run partnership between George Dockrell (58)* and Fionn Hand (36) that took Ireland somewhat close to the target. However, their efforts went in vain as the tailenders Mark Adair (6) and George Hume (1) dwindled and Ireland could post a total of 167/9, losing the game by 22 runs.
For Afghanistan, Naveen-ul-Haq was the pick of the bowlers who scaled a figure of 3/38. Fazalhaq Farooqi (2/11) and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman (2/28) provided vital support to Haq whereas skipper Mohammed Nabi (1/38) chipped a wicket apiece.
The fourth T-20I of the series is scheduled to take place on 15th August at Stormont. While Ireland will look to seize the series, Afghanistan will aim to level the series and head into a decider.
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