Tim Murtagh guides Ireland to level series with Afghanistan
Home side completed a three wicket victory to take the series to a deciding match in Belfast
Ireland’s Tim Murtagh celebrates after dismissing Gulbadin Naib of Afghanistan during their one day international in Belfast. Photo: Rowland White/Inpho
Tim Murtagh hit the winning runs as Ireland beat Afghanistan by three wickets at Stormont to take their one-day international series to a third and deciding match.
The opening bowler had earlier taken a career-best four for 30 in his 10 overs, three of them in a devastating early blitz, to pave the way for victory as the tourists managed only 182 for nine from their 50 overs.
Afghanistan had won the toss and elected to bat, but were ripped apart by Murtagh, who dismissed Mohammad Shahzad, Hazratullah Zazai and Gulbadin Naib in his first 14 balls with the score having reached just 13.
Skipper Asghar Afghan and left-hander Najibullah Zadran, with 39 and 42 respectively, led a modest fightback to ensure they batted out their allocation, but their tally always looked significantly light.
Ireland captain William Porterfield departed without troubling the scorers, but Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie, who top-scored with 60, steadied the ship to allow Simi Singh to steer them home with an unbeaten 36 and with 37 balls to spare.