Ireland aim for a turnaround in ODI series
DUBLIN (92 News) – After losing the three-match Twenty20 International series 2-0 to Afghanistan, hosts Ireland will want to set things right in the one-day internationals.
The third match of the T20I series was scheduled for Friday, 24 August, only to be abandoned due to a waterlogged outfield at the Bready Cricket Club in North Ireland. Afghanistan won the series 2-0, continuing their limited-overs dominance over the hosts.
The T20Is conceded, William Porterfield and his men will now look to turn things around in the three ODI matches, the first of which will be contested in Belfast on Monday.
It won’t be easy for the hosts: Afghanistan are at No.10 the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings for Men, while Ireland occupy the 12th spot. Both teams haven’t played ODIs since the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 in Zimbabwe in March.
Afghanistan’s spin-duo of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman looked perilous in the T20Is. The pair picked up 12 wickets between them. Their performances will again be key to the success of Asghar Afghan’s team.
Of interest will be how Wafadar, who received his maiden ODI call-up having impressed with his pace in their inaugural Test against India, will fare. Hashmatullah Shahidi and Aftab Alam are making comebacks to the squad and will hope to hold their places.
Ireland, meanwhile, will rely on performances from their seasoned campaigners. Niall O’Brien and Tim Murtagh come into the squad, and the experience of players like Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien and Gary Wilson will be crucial to holding their batting line-up together.
Paul Stirling (Ireland): The right-hander got off to good starts in both the T20 games, but could not kick on to turn them into big knocks. The opening batsman will want to set that right on Monday. His contribution at the top of the order will set the tone for Ireland’s batting performance, and if he brings his red-hot form from his county stint with Middlesex into this encounter, his team will be happy.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan): The 19-year-old is second on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Rankings for bowlers. He has taken seven wickets in two games so far on the tour. The Irishmen are comparatively weaker against spin, which will make his role important.
The rain might play spoilsport again. There are chances of a shower in the morning. The pitch at Belfast has previously been good for the batsmen. The last international game there was between these same two teams, in 2017, when both teams scored in excess of 250.
Ireland: William Porterfield (c), Andy Balbirnie, Peter Chase, David Delany, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Asghar Afghan (c), Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Ihsanullah Janat, Sayed Shirzad, Dawlat Zadran, Wafadar