|Finished.260/3 (45.2) - 259/9 (50)|
With their match-winning performance on Thursday, Afghanistan managed to take the lead in the fierce rivalry between themselves and Ireland. With two matches to go, Ireland must even the odds to bring the tournament back to even ground. Of course, the Afghans won’t want that. It’s not often that they get to win a series against a Test playing nation, and this will be an important achievement in their short careers. The first match was exciting, and the second looks like it will have just as much in the way of entertainment. Before the players stroll out onto the field, let’s take a look at the two teams.
Afghanistan predicted XI, preview, form, and key players for this match
Predicted XI: Asghar Afghan (c), Rahmat Shah, Naveen-ul-Haq, Javed Ahmadi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
It’s amazing to see a country that has had less than a decade of cricketing action produce such fine young talent, but Afghanistan are starting to look like it won’t be long before they are a strong cricketing nation. Choosing to bat first in the first match, the openers created a fantastic 120-run stand, but a collapse of the middle order meant that the team had to become more defensive. The final score could have been pretty average despite debutant Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s magnificent 127 at a run-a-ball had it not been for Rashid Khan’s late charge of 55 off just 30. After putting up a powerful 289 (considering the ground), the Afghans then managed to hold their foes back for a 16-run win with the help of Naveen-ul-Haq (3 for 68), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2 for 40), and of course, Rashid Khan (2 for 56).
AFG Key players
Rahmanullah Gurbaz: We trusted him on his debut and he delivered in troves, so now we’ll trust him again.
Rahmat Shah: He may have had a poor performance in the first game, but Rahmat Shah has more than enough talent to make a comeback.
Naveen-ul-Haq: The young fast bowler has shown that he can pick up wickets - he just needs to be more economical while doing so.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman: We’re going with Mujeeb over Rashid in this one with our fingers crossed.
Ireland predicted XI, preview, form, and key players for this match
Predicted XI: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Gareth Delany, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Kevin O’Brien, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Curtis Campher, Mark Adair, Andrew McBrine, Craig Young, Simi Singh.
It wasn’t the kind of start the Irish would have hoped for, and some umpiring decisions did go against them, but they have the power to come back as long as they can muster up the resolve. In their last match, only one of their bowlers really shined, and that was Andy McBrine with his incredible 5 for 29. Simi Singh also did very well for his 45 for 1 with 2 maidens, but it just wasn’t enough. Even Curtis Campher, who is usually brilliant, was taken for runs. When it came time to chase, the Irish had plenty of decent starts, but once again, only one player shined. Paul Stirling’s and Curtis Campher’s individual 39s and Harry Tector’s 28 were good, but it was Lorcan Tucker’s 83 that almost got the Irish through. However, it wasn’t to be, and the Irish could only get up to 271.
IRE Key players
Andrew Balbirnie: He may have had a poor game, but Balbirnie still has too much talent for us to ignore him.
Paul Stirling: Same as Balbirnie, but even better and more consistent.
Simi Singh: Singh couldn’t take as many wickets as he probably would have liked, but he bowled really well without a doubt.
Andrew McBrine: Almost the star of the show, McBrine was unquestionably the best bowler - and perhaps player - on the Irish squad.
Afghanistan vs Ireland weather conditions and pitch report
Once again, it should be a perfectly cool, dry day in Abu Dhabi for some pleasant cricket. That being said, there will be a bit of a strong breeze, so those trying to catch skiers should be watchful.
As was seen in the previous match, scores of 280 or more are difficult to chase on this pitch. There’s quite a bit in it for pacers, but if McBrine and others were any evidence, the spinners should have a great time as well.
Can Afghanistan seal the series with consecutive wins that tip the stats between these teams further in their favour? Or will Ireland work some Leprechaun magic and take it away from them? Find out if our Afghanistan vs Ireland predictions come true on Saturday!
|AFG Top Batsman:|
|IRE Top Batsman:|
|AFG Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|M Ur Rahman|
|IRE Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|R Gurbaz/R Shah/N Zadran (AFG) P Stirling/A Balbirnie/H Tector (IRE)|
|Players to score a century:|
|R Gurbaz/R Shah (AFG) P Stirling/A Balbirnie (IRE)|