The Afghanistan spin bowling sensation hit a 10-ball 31 and backed it up 2 wicket haul in a rain curtailed 11 over contest. Najibullah Zadran also smashed a 50 with the blade
Rashid Khan. Pic/AFP
In a rain-curtailed 11-overs-a-side contest, the visitors put up 132-6 after hard-hitting knocks from Najibullah Zadran (50 off 24) and Rashid Khan (31 off 10).
Chasing 133, Ireland had a short but blistering opening stand. Opener Paul Stirling's got the innings moving from ball one, and Balbirnie went four, four, six in the second over as Ireland drove to 28-0 after nine deliveries. But Balbirnie's stay on the crease was short, and the losses of Stirling and Lorcan Tucker a couple of overs later left Ireland in serious trouble.
In-form George Dockrell tried to ensure that his team reached three figures. He smashed 41 off just 27 deliveries with four fours and two sixes. He couldn't get support, and Ireland fell short of 27 runs.
Earlier, Ireland won the toss and chose to bowl first but it was Afghanistan who took the early initiative; Rahmanullah Gurbaz hooked a six to make it 17 runs off the opening over, bowled by Josh Little. Gurbaz scored 24 off 13 deliveries, and eventually went back to the pavilion in the third over when Mark Adair took a catch at short fine-leg off the bowling of Barry McCarthy.
Afghanistan recovered well from 55-4, led by Najibullah, who smashed 50 runs in the 24-ball with another sparkling knock. His 24-ball stint saw him smash four fours and three sixes, and Rashid also shifted the gears and smashed three sixes in an effective cameo. The duo took their team to a comfortable total of 132/6 in 11 overs.
Brief score: Afghanistan 132/6 (Najibullah Zadran 50, Rashid Khan 31; Gareth Delany 3-33) vs Ireland 105 all out (George Dockrell 41*, Paul Stirling 20; Fareed Ahmad 3-14).
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