Cricket: Early wickets work in Ireland’s favour as they clinch series win against Afghanistan

Seven-wicket victory as Tector combined with Dockrell to see side home

Early wickets in the power play worked to Ireland’s favour as Duckworth-Lewis handed them a relatively straightforward chase as they secured a seven-wicket victory over Afghanistan, clinching the series 3-2 in the process.

Mark Adair saw his first two deliveries flayed to the off side boundary only to respond with two wickets in as many balls in the game’s second over. Hazratullah Zazai sliced one to mid off where Simi Singh took a good over the shoulder catch while Rahmanullah Gurbaz nicked off next ball.

Afghanistan wrested back some momentum when Usman Ghahu bludgeoned 20 off Singh’s solitary over, but a double strike from Josh Little — the second via a stunning Lorcan Tucker catch behind the stumps — put Ireland back in control before the rain came.

That brought the Afghanistan innings to a close. Ireland were eventually given seven overs to chase just 56. Andrew Balbirnie launched an early boundary over mid off while Paul Stirling also found the rope on two occasions to ensure Ireland kept up with the rate.

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Mujeeb Ur Rahman did remove the openers to give Afghanistan a sniff but Harry Tector combined with George Dockrell to see the side home.

In other news, as was previously reported Ireland are due to play a Test match in England in June 2023 after the release of the Future Tours Programme by the ICC.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist