Afghanistan rout Ireland in third ODI in India

James Cameron-Dow takes 3-32 but Ireland’s batting is brittle as they lose by 109 runs

James Cameron-Dow took 3-32 in Ireland’s heavy defeat to Afghanistan. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inphoy

James Cameron-Dow took 3-32 in Ireland’s heavy defeat to Afghanistan. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inphoy

 

Afghanistan 223 (49.1 overs; A Afghan 54, M Nabi 64, R Khan 52; J Cameron-Row 3-32) beat Ireland 114 (35.3 overs; K O’Brien 26; A Alam 4-25, R Khan 2-22) by 109 runs.

Afghanistan beat Ireland by 109 runs in the fourth ODI to go 2-1 up in the series with one game to go.

Despite Afghanistan crashing to 81-6 in the first innings, half-centuries from Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan guided the hosts to a competitive total of 223. Aftab Alam then starred with the ball, collecting figures of 4-25 to take Afghanistan to a comfortable win.

Ireland once again produced a tidy all-round bowling display, with James Cameron-Dow’s 3-32 the highlight, but they perhaps lacked the cutting edge to deliver the knockout punch while the Afghans were floored.

While Afghanistan’s lower-order rebuild led by Nabi and Rashid deserves high praise, Ireland would have gone into the interval knowing they had possibly let a great opportunity slip.

Chasing 224 for victory in the second innings, William Porterfield and Paul Stirling shared 31 for the first wicket, before Porterfield fell leg before wicket to Alam, quickly followed by centurion of the last match, Andy Balbirnie for a duck. Stirling went a run later to leave Ireland at 33-3.

Simi Singh and Kevin O’Brien steadied the ship with a 33-run stand, but when Singh was bowled by Rashid Khan, it prompted another mini-collapse, with George Dockrell – another who showed fine form during the previous match – and Stuart Poynter not lasting long, bowled by Gulbadin Naib and Aftab respectively. By the 30th over Ireland were 90-6 – a similar position Afghanistan had found themselves in a few hours before.

But did the Irish have the same lower-order firepower to fuel a comeback? There was of course hope while O’Brien remained, with Ireland surely taking some heart from the incredible Balbirnie-Dockrell stand in the third ODI, but it was a big ask against a classy attack.

It wasn’t to be. Rashid removed McBrine caught and bowled, before the impressive Alam, bowled both O’Brien and Tim Murtagh during the next over.

It was fitting that Nabi grabbed the winning wicket, with his excellent half-century in the first innings supplemented by a brilliant bowling economy rate of a meagre 2.40 in the second.

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