|Finished.266/9 (50) - 230/10 (47.1)|
It’s been quite a journey for the Afghan national cricket team over the last decade, but here in the present, they have just won an important ODI series against Ireland. No doubt in high spirits, they will be looking to make it their first whitewash, which should help morale, ICC rankings, and their journey in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, where they have just risen to 6th place. Ireland on the other hand will be looking to salvage what’s left of their pride. It’s not as though they played poorly - unlike the West Indies team currently visiting Bangladesh - but they were just outplayed on both occasions despite having put in a sincere, strong effort. This might be a dead rubber, but given the closeness of their statistics against each other, a win would mean quite a bit to either side. Before the first ball is bowled, let’s take a look at the two teams.
Predicted XI: Asghar Afghan (c), Rahmat Shah, Naveen-ul-Haq, Javed Ahmadi, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Preview and form
The improvement of long-time players and influx of new talent in Afghanistan is remarkable given the country’s infrastructural issues over the years. In just 12 years, Afghanistan have managed to build up a team reminiscent of an early 90s Sri Lanka - and that is a definite compliment. In the second ODI, the Afghans bowled first, and although things initially looked to be favouring the Irish, a flurry of wickets near the end of the innings helped the ‘hosts’ restrict them for a relatively modest 259. Naveen-ul-Haq was the pick of the lot with his 4 wickets, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman was second in line with three. Despite losing two relatively early wickets, Afghanistan’s chase was remarkably well-paced, with Rahmat Shah’s 103 spearheading the innings alongside Hashmatullah Shahidi’s 82. With plenty of time to spare, the Afghans cruised to a victory with 7 wickets in hand.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz: He may have had a relatively poor game last time, but this newcomer is too exciting and talented to keep out of this list.
Hashmatullah Shahidi: The talented and experienced Shahidi was in his element last match, and might just be in similar touch in this one as well.
Naveen-ul-Haq: The young fast bowler has been excellent over the two matches with 7 wickets to his name.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman: Experienced well beyond his young years, Mujeeb has become a staple of the Afghanistan team.
Predicted XI: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Gareth Delany, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Kevin O’Brien, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Curtis Campher, Barry McCarthy, Andrew McBrine, Craig Young, Simi Singh.
Preview and form
It’s one thing to lose a series against your big brother regional rivals, but completely another to lose it to a team that started playing cricket decades after your own country, especially when they are your fiercest rivals. In the last match, Paul Stirling’s 128 should have done much more than what it did, but unfortunately the only support he got was Curtis Campher’s 47. Many other starts faded into nothing, with the worst of the lot being Harry Tector’s Test match innings of 24 off 58. Defending 259, Ireland’s bowlers were even more hapless. Some remained relatively economical, but with the exception of Simi Singh, no one had a decent turn with the ball. In the end, the Green Whites lost with 28 deliveries to go.
Paul Stirling: The main man of Ireland’s batting needs to play another centurion innings if his team are to win their last match.
Curtis Campher: A great presence on the field, young Campher needs to maximize his talent to help his team more.
Craig Young: The fast bowler has plenty of skill, but needs to be a little more incisive in order to be effective.
Simi Singh: Highly talented, Simi Singh’s capable bowling will be important for an otherwise blunt Irish bowling attack.
Afghanistan vs Ireland 3rd ODI weather conditions and pitch report
There’s the tiniest chance of rain in the desert as the humidity rises, but barring that, the cool temperature and slight wind should make for a fantastic day of cricket.
As has been seen over the last few days, it’s a little difficult to score freely on this pitch and this field, but bowlers who don’t do much with the ball will be destined to go wicketless. Expect scores of 270+ to be decent for a first innings.
Can Afghanistan whitewash Ireland to create history for themselves? Or will the Irish avoid such a fate and exit with their heads held high? Find out if our Afghanistan vs Ireland predictions come true on Tuesday!
|AFG Top Batsman:|
|IRE Top Batsman:|
|AFG Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|M Ur Rahman|
|IRE Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|R Gurbaz/H Shahidi/R Shah (AFG) P Stirling/A Balbirnie/C Campher (IRE)|
|Players to score a century:|
|R Gurbaz/H Shahidi (AFG) P Stirling/C Campher (IRE)|