Afghanistan v Ireland, 2nd T20I, Greater Noida March 10, 2017

Rashid's 5 for 3 keeps Afghanistan's streak alive

ESPNcricinfo staff

Afghanistan 184 for 8 (Tarakai 90, Nabi 34, McCarthy 4-33) beat Ireland 93 for 9 (Stirling 34, Rashid 5-3) by 17 runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

File photo: Ireland's middle order could not handle Rashid Khan's clever changes of pace © Peter Della Penna

Twelve little balls of legspin. How much damage could it really do? Well, it could change the fate of a T20I, vault the practitioner to the greatest of heights and protect a proud winning streak that seemed all but dead. Before Rashid Khan, no one had ever taken a five-wicket haul in as little time as two overs in Twenty20 international cricket. The record, though, was merely a byproduct of his ability to vary pace, prey on the pressure the Ireland batsmen felt and then toss up the hit-me ball, which invariably turned out to be a googly that bamboozled everyone. The slogs came, the stumps were broken, the rest became history.

Afghanistan came into the match with nine straight wins in the shortest format. It was already a world record, but their hopes of pushing it to 10 took a major hit when heavy rain lashed across the Greater Noida Sports Complex. With only the pitch and the bowler's run-ups under covers, the majority of the outfield took on a lot of water and it was testament to the ground staff that the match even restarted. Ireland had been 65 for 2 in 6.1 overs when the weather intervened, which put them 12 runs ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par score considering the target was 185. Then the rain stopped.

And Rashid went to work. He hoodwinked Kevin O'Brien and Gary Wilson with wrong 'uns in his first over. His next one was a triple-wicket maiden and it simply trampled upon all the hope Ireland had of levelling the three-match series. Their target was revised to 111 in 11 overs - or 46 runs to win off the remaining 29 balls. It was a tough ask but perhaps some of the senior batsmen should have taken a little time to get themselves set again. Instead, they chose to hit out as wildly as the tailenders who would follow and 65 for 2 became 93 for 9 in what could well have been the blink of an eye.

All of that made for excellent viewing for opener Najeeb Tarakai. He had hammered 90 off 58 balls to become the only man not named Mohammad Shahzad among in the list of top six scores by an Afghanistan batsman in T20Is. Spending two hours on the sidelines watching the showers lash across the ground wouldn't have been pleasant for him after driving his team from the doldrums of 12 for 2 in the third over to 175 for 6 by the time he was dismissed in the 20th. It was his first half-century in the format, including seven fours and five sixes, and most importantly, it turned out to be match-winning effort.

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  • nerney1414745 on March 12, 2017, 12:19 GMT

    @ZAHIRSHAH You're completely missing my point. I never once said Ireland are a better t20 team then Afghanistan, because they are obviously not. That said it is not unthinkable that Ireland could beat Afghan on any given day in a t20. What I said was the rain break killed Ireland's momentum in the game. Batters were going well, Porterfield in particular, then they had to leave the field for an hour and a half. They came back in and didn't have time to set themselves with the revised target. 49 off 29 is very doable but it's much harder when you're coming out cold and basically starting again (with a wet outfield for good measure). It was far from a guarantee that Ireland would have won the game even if there hadn't of been a rain break, I just would have fancied our chances a little bit more than the revised D/L target.

  • Zahirshah Haidari on March 12, 2017, 6:24 GMT

    @OURMAN: Ireland needed only 49 of 29 with eight wickets in hand, they were pretty much in the game after the revised target, Afghanistan defeated your team two times in desert tournament convincingly, and the same happened in the last two games, you have to accept that Afghanistan is far better than Ireland in shortest format, that is the reason they are ranked 9th from the last two years and Ireland is 15th, I am pretty sure Afghanistan will defeat Ireland in the last encounter if we have a clear Sunday in Greater Noida, And @cricinforuser: I am completely agree with you.

  • nerney1414745 on March 11, 2017, 18:43 GMT

    Closer game then the first match and in all honesty Ireland should have won it after the flying start from Sterling and Porterfield. I'm obviously biased in my opinion being Irish but I really think the rain saved Afghanistan on this occasion. The rain break took all of our momentum out of the game at a point when batters were all over the bowlers and could smell blood. Outfield became wet, batsmen came in cold after a long break and fielding team could pretty much start again with Ireland facing revised target allowing them no time to set themselves again. Hopefully we come with the right attitude again for the third game and avoid the whitewash. It would be a nice confidence boost coming into the ODI series.

  • Cricinfouser on March 11, 2017, 13:08 GMT

    Afghanistan needs a good captain, the likes of Dhoni virat or mustafiz of bangladesh. Asghar is a poor captain. he has no talent to be captain this is will demotivate the players. he always go is in with one plane. he should adjust according to weather conditions, he should adjust to apply pressure or bring his wicket taking baller soon if the opposition is collapsing and not allowing opposition to settle coz your plan of Rashid is always in the 12th over, in case of Zimbabwe they collapsed losing many wickets but they recovered when fast ballers balled 10 overs allowing them to settle and will enable them to confidently take Rashid as well so this is wrong plan. captain must adapt to the requirement of the game.

  • Zahirshah Haidari on March 11, 2017, 10:51 GMT

    very disappointing, why can't we have a preview of these matches in this site?

  • jasimz6700070 on March 11, 2017, 8:00 GMT

    Rashid khan and Najib Tarakai were today stars of the match . What tremendous batting by Najib Tarakai it's unforgettable hitting by him. Actually Afghanistan cricket team is more improved that we were expected. Afghanistan have great brighter future congratulations to Afghanistan best of luck.

  •   Mustafa Sarwari on March 11, 2017, 5:00 GMT

    Hat off for this Young Rashid khan he's master of googly and will be proven soon in IPL 2017 SRH will be proud to have Rashid khan in their X1 and he will be lead wicket taker in IPL Inshallah best of luck Rashid khan and Mohammad Nabi in IPL

  •   Hamid Seddiqi on March 10, 2017, 21:43 GMT

    For those who are asking about Mirwais Ashraf he recently went through serious operation and will remain on rest may be for the next couple of months...

  • Sultan on March 10, 2017, 21:42 GMT

    We need wicket taking bowlers in first 6 overs. That remains our weak point despite Hamza brilliance. Fareed should be drafted in. No excuses. Karim should be dropped for Aftab as well. Just want to check Aftab form before ODIS. We got too many batsmen for this format we can afford extra bowler.

  • Andy on March 10, 2017, 21:35 GMT

    The stats presented above are not very illuminating because they look at the whole spell. The first record set is quickest to 5 wickets from start of spell. Rashid took his 5th wicket with just the 11th ball of his allotted 24. The previous quickest to 5 wickets was 14 balls, shared by three men (Umar Gul 2.2-0-6-5 Pak v SA in 2013, Southee 4.0-1-18-5 NZ v Pak in 2010 and BAW Mendis 4.0-1-16-6 SL v Aus in 2011 - the latter two taking their 5th wicket with ball 14). The second record set is one which Rashid has equalled : he took his 5 wickets in the space of 9 balls which equals Southee (within the spell mentioned above) and betters 5 in 10 balls by Mendis (first 5 wickets within the spell above) and Chahal (last 5 wickets within 4.0-0-25-6 Ind v Eng 2017) and 11 balls by MRJ Watt (within 4.0-0-27-5 Sco v Neth 2016). For wider interest the equivalent records for Test cricket were covered in 'Ask Steven' on 6.9.2016. I've asked him can he dig out the equivalent records in ODIs.

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