Afghanistan v Ireland, 3rd T20I, Greater Noida March 12, 2017

Nabi, Shahzad seal Afghanistan's 3-0 whitewash


Afghanistan 233 for 8 (Nabi 89, Shahzad 72, O'Brien 4-45) beat Ireland 205 (Wilson 59, Stirling 49, Rashid 3-28) by 28 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Afghanistan recorded their second 3-0 whitewash in T20Is © PTI

Bowlers and records were all over the place in Greater Noida as Afghanistan trumped Ireland by 28 runs to seal a 3-0 whitewash in a 438-run slugfest, taking their unbeaten streak to a record 11 games in T20Is. Two of Afghanistan's most destructive batsmen, Mohammad Shahzad and Mohammad Nabi, thrashed scintillating fifties to set up Afghanistan's 233 for 8, their highest T20 total. Ireland scrapped and fought their way back but in the end, found themselves short of firepower and the target.

Shahzad set the ball rolling, getting to his fifty one ball after the Powerplay, off just 27 balls. The bowlers' lines were far too wide, but the strength of his bottom hand didn't leave them much choice. Shahzad struck six fours and five sixes, but his first boundary - a cut through backward point - may have been the sweetest for it took him past Virat Kohli as the format's fourth-highest run-scorer.

By the time he was dismissed in the 13th over, Ireland's bowlers found their rhythm, reducing Afghanistan from 97 for 1 to 121 for 5. Legspinner Jacob Mulder earned two wickets in three balls. A cameo, at best, would take Afghanistan close to 200. The 14th over went for seven runs, and that worst-case total lowered.

In the next over, Nabi stepped out and skewed a mow that just cleared long-on. If the boundary was a metre longer, Nabi was undone by flight. But, the small dimensions meant Nabi had the security of productive mis-hits. He hardly mis-timed a ball thereafter though. Bowlers repeatedly missing their yorkers played into his strengths, and his confidence, power and timing did the rest. When he was done clobbering them, with 89 off 30, he had the highest score by a No. 6 or lower in T20Is.

Afghanistan plundered 104 with at least two boundaries in each of the last six overs. Barry McCarthy conceded 69 runs in his four overs, the most expensive figures in T20Is. Even though Kevin O'Brien returned 4 for 45 to control some of the damage, it seemed like Ireland's house had blown away.

It hadn't yet. Paul Stirling and then Stuart Thompson broke the game open with the joint-highest Powerplay score in T20Is, as Ireland scored 91 to equal Netherlands' total against them during the World T20 in 2014. Apart from abetting Ireland by overstepping, Shapoor Zadran's lines were wayward and his variations were predictable. Stirling was dropped twice off consecutive deliveries, and had scurried to 49 off 19 before flicking Zadran to deep square leg.

Thompson struck two fours and five sixes in his 43, but was bowled off left-arm spinner Amir Hamza in his bid to keep Ireland's momentum going. A few tidy subsequent overs meant Ireland were always behind the required rate, with the opposition's best bowler still unused.

Gary Wilson kept Ireland interested with a quickfire fifty; so much so that at the end of 18 overs, Ireland were four runs ahead of where Afghanistan were. However, Rashid Khan, bowling the 19th over, took three wickets to end Ireland's spirited fight.

Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricinfouser on March 14, 2017, 17:18 GMT

    Afghan team is young but has a potential and talented players not to forget the new generation players from our academy are proving themselves worthy players the likes of Najib Tarakai Rashid Khan karim janat fareed malik Usman Ghani Yamin Ahmadzai Laghmani.

  • Naik on March 14, 2017, 12:30 GMT

    Great job Afghan boys. You deserved to be given the full membership and the so called big boys need to play with you as you people brought complete live to this dying game of cricket. I also agree with some Afghan fans here about some of their top players are missing. I saw Hamid Hassan in WC, he is one of the best in the world and if he is fit and play we will see another Waqar Younis.

    All the best

  • Zahirshah Haidari on March 14, 2017, 11:05 GMT

    Afghanistan has played 15 T20's against all full members except Aus and NZ, they have won 6 of them including one from WI, and MS has had fifties and a century against them, those who are saying he can't score against big boys, once see his record in BPL, Nabi was the highest wicket taker in WC 2016 where they played 5 T20's against full members and won two of them, Rashid was the second highest wicket taker in the WC. Nabi was the second Highest wicket taker in BPL. this is a perfect reply for those who are saying that our team can't play against big boys. yes they can't play against them if they hardly get only one chance in a year to play against full members, but you can judge them if they play a complete series against full members, the upcoming series between Afghanistan and WI will answer your questions.

  •   Hamid Seddiqi on March 14, 2017, 7:20 GMT

    For those who think of Afghanistan being less competitive in longer formats, they should remember that Afghanistan has now separate squads for all three formats... wait until you see the likes of Hashmat, Noor Ali and Rahmat shah in middle top order of the squad.. You will also be not disappointed to see the likes of Zahir shah and Farid Malik in the bowling department... You would agree that Ireland's batting is currently all about top 4 old guns at the top order, and bowling is ... i am not sure if you can name anyone in the bowling department... They really need to produce new Morgans, Willsons, Poterfields and O'brinse if they are to remain in the chase...

  • zamtaj5048117 on March 13, 2017, 23:50 GMT

    When Shapoor is playing my heart drops to the ground simply he give to many runs the rest is good

  • andrew2711976 on March 13, 2017, 21:22 GMT

    @RAZ2802 - Try here;filter=advanced;orderby=runs;template=results;type=batting. It is a typical apples and pears comparison - one has played a lot of matches against high quality opposition with outstanding results, the other has played a lot of matches.

  • Khalid on March 13, 2017, 20:23 GMT

    Shapoor performance in the last 3 T20's was very poor, disappointing and below average. He needs to do some serious home work before playing gains any team. We need Hamid Hassin to replace Shapoor and Mirwais to replace Karim Janat. The rest looks good.

    Afghanistan ODI XI VS Ireland: 1-M. Shahzad 2-Noor Ali Zadran 3-Najib Taraikai 4- Usman Ghani 5- Samiullah Shenwari 6- M. Nabi 7- Najib Zadran 8- Rashid 9- Mirwais/Dawlat Zadran 10- Hamid Hassan 11- Hamza/Gulbadin Naib

  • Khalid on March 13, 2017, 20:14 GMT

    CRICINFOUSER: I know for the fact that Mirwais is sick and he will come back for WI tour in June 2017, what about Hamid Hassan, when will he recover and when will join the team, any idea?

  • Khalid on March 13, 2017, 20:12 GMT

    Ireland you might have lost the game but you have won my hearth! Love from Afghanistan

  • Cricinfouser on March 13, 2017, 18:21 GMT

    WARDAKAFG the sooner he returns the sooner we will become a full mature squad. we need him more now as we lack a proper fast baller who have speed and can outswin and inswing

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