Afghanistan v Ireland, 2nd ODI, Greater Noida March 17, 2017

Rashid six-for outshines Stirling heroics in Afghanistan win

The report by Varun Shetty

Afghanistan 338 (Stanikzai 101, Rahmat 68, Shahzad 63, Stirling 6-55) beat Ireland 304 (Stirling 95, Joyce 55, Rashid 6-43, Dawlat 3-52) by 34 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Rashid Khan ran through Ireland's middle order, yet again © Associated Press

A match lit up by stellar individual performances for most parts ended on a tame note as Ireland suffered two mini-collapses on either side of a sixth-wicket stand that kept them interested briefly in a chase of 339. They fell 34 short of Afghanistan's 338, once again failing to negotiate 18-year-old Rashid Khan who now has 18 wickets in his last four matches across formats against them. The legspinner finished with a career-best 6 for 43.

The first of his six wickets was Paul Stirling, who was having arguably the best match of his career till he was given out. Having taken 6 for 55 earlier after spontaneously switching to legspin halfway through his spell, the offspin-bowling opener had powered along to 95 off 79 when he was struck in front of leg stump by a googly. He was five runs away from equalling Paul Colingwood's returns of a six-for and century in the same match. His disappointment was telling as he let out cathartic screams after umpire Ahmed Shah Durrani had raised his finger. To his credit, however, he didn't make much of it after picking up the Man-of-the-Match award.

"We were told that the umpires are always right. Fairplay to them, [we] respect the umpires. That's the way we have been taught to play the game," Stirling said.

Ireland were 173 for 2 at that point, also fuelled by Ed Joyce who scored 55 in an opening stand of 113. Rashid's googly then made Niall O'Brien second-guess a legspinner as he was trapped plumb, and William Porterfield's 46-ball 45 ended when he closed the face to get a leading edge off a googly to extra cover. Ireland had fallen to 228 for 5. Stuart Thompson struck a 25-ball 37 but Asghar Stanikzai's strategic use of pacer Dawlat Zadran helped Afghanistan keep Ireland in check.

Stanikzai had a great day himself, electing to bat and coming in at 94 for 2 after Mohammad Shahzad had walloped a 63 off 43 on a flat pitch. He put on 96 for the third wicket with Rahmat Shah, whose 68 was his third consecutive fifty in ODIs, before launching into attack mode. He targeted Tim Murtagh and Peter Chase in particular, taking the pacers for a combined 51 off 19, and made 71 off 35 from the 37th over onwards to reach his maiden ton off 88 balls. He fell for 101 two balls later and was one of six wickets that Afghanistan lost in the last five overs. Three of them fell to Stirling in the last over, including Shafiqullah, whose 17-ball 35 put the finishing touches on Afghanistan's total.

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  •   cricfan12079770 on March 23, 2017, 14:53 GMT

    I m a BD fan. But I am very happy to see AFG cricket grow at this rate. Thanks to some great talents. They have some types of players BD never had. I hope u get test status and join the big league. All the best.

  • yousuf3858336 on March 19, 2017, 4:20 GMT


    Asghar was selected as team captain by the powers that be based on merit not personal connections with selectors.

    Strike rates are important but not as important as strategic vision and the temperament to lead. Stanikzai showed leadership and poise when Afghanistan defeated Bangladesh for the very first time in Asia Cup and continues doing so.

    When Afghanistan attains full membership in the near future, they will be more than ready to dance with the big boys, whether Stanikzai is retained as captain or not.

    I'm an eternal optimist and I don't bring tribalism into sports by criticizing the team, selectors or the board.

    Some would say that the Afghan team is made of players from eastern Afghanistan mostly, but I'm not going to doubt the selectors and accuse them of tribalism, that would be petty.

    Good luck to the team today and the remaining two matches.

  • Sohan on March 19, 2017, 2:49 GMT

    Go AFG go

    Want Mohammad Shahzad to make couple of centuries in remaining matches

  • cricfan5633992423 on March 18, 2017, 17:20 GMT

    Afghanistan winning 5to 0 I have very strong cricket team

  • Noor on March 18, 2017, 13:36 GMT

    It is very sad to see comments that questioning the dignity and neutralism of umpires; I was just watching today's play between of test match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, where the former World Number 1 umpire, Aleem Dar made two straight forward wrong decision about LBWs in a single day that could prove handy for Bangladesh. As everyone knows that ups and downs were always there in LBWs decisions even from the start of Cricket until date. Moreover, LBWs decision have been the key to force cricketing world to introduce DRS. I think its not discuss able anymore. I think Ireland needs to focus on raising some new talent rather than sticking to this decision. Ireland has lost 5 matches on this tour, the 2nd ODI isn't been the only one, so Ireland needs to focus on playing positive cricket. I think their U19 team couldn't even qualify for the World Cup where Malaysia did, Its turning out to be crucial for Ireland to raise young talent.

  •   logar afghan fan on March 18, 2017, 13:20 GMT

    Again afghan team won the game and Asghar showed maturity and talent after very long time and his batting helped afghan team to won the match and also great support of rashid khan and dawlat zadran bowling,so rashid took 6 wickets and dawlat tok 3 wickets from irlend team.

  • Cricinfouser on March 18, 2017, 6:32 GMT

    I think let's be mature about the decision of the umpire it is cricket it happened and it's gone you had other 9 wickets to win the game. this is what happens if you rely on one player for your batting if he doesn't perform you lose. Afghanistan was not given LBW against Moin Ali during the world cup we never complained. I believe we should bring in fareed malik in the next game and Usman ghani to replace Gulbadin and Hamza.

  • Noor on March 18, 2017, 6:03 GMT

    I would like to rule out any concerns of Irish fans regarding the decision of Stirling's LBW. Let's be fair to the game and see how Shahzad was given out LBW by the same umpire, which also was going to the way leg side. We all know how dangerous Shahzad is when he gets set on the deck. Stirling was caught behind only in 2nd over of the match and the same umpire which Irish fans are criticizing called for a review of the No-Ball. I think it would be better for Ireland to focus on displaying better show in the upcoming matches rather sticking to umpires' capability. The LBW decision in the cricket has been a problem over the decades and its a serious issue for the umpires who got BEST UMPIRES OF THE YEAR awards. I would like to mentioned their names also, such as Aleem Dar and Simon Tauffel. I would not agree the person saying the Stirling kept his cool after the decision, he was shouting at the umpire until reaching the dugout which I personally think is not what a better fair play show

  • Hamid on March 18, 2017, 5:49 GMT

    Those of you talking about decision against Stirling, could you also kindly look at decision against Shahazad? We all know that cricket is vulnerable to such mistakes and it was not deliberat from the umpire... How many decisions are changed as result of DRS no a days? do you think these mistakes are deliberat? Lets be fair to the umpire who was standing just in his second International venue... both umpires were from Ireland during the last series but we never argued with that being a reason for our losses... no offense to Stirling, but he was out only on 6 runs i guess, but, he servived just because of an indecision from a more senior-third country umpire where he reffered a case to confirm if the catch was legimate but end-up with a no ball that was never claimed for...

  • Hamid on March 18, 2017, 5:31 GMT

    To me it is unfair to blam the umpire to have deliberately made the decision to favor his country side... it is just his second ODI and if you fairly review all his decisions, most of the wrong ones were against Afghanistan... in the same match his decision against Shahzad was also incorrect... he refused several legitimate Lpw claims of Afg bowlers in t20 that could have gone any side... he was the one who called for the no ball check when Dowlat took the last wicket that could have cost Afghanistan a mach... All in all we are talking about one wicket, what about the rest of nine wickets... Congratulations Afghanistan, you truely deserved this win, hard luck Ireland, i have no doubt you have all the potential to make a strong comeback...

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