Friday 28 April 2017

Ireland come up short against Afghanistan

Ireland opener Paul Stirling had smashed 49 from 20 balls in the T20 series. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Ireland opener Paul Stirling had smashed 49 from 20 balls in the T20 series. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Gary Wilson blazed a quick-fire half-century after opener Paul Stirling had smashed 49 from 20 balls but their pyrotechnics proved in vain as Ireland failed to chase down a massive Afghanistan total in Greater Noida yesterday and lost by 28 runs to suffer a 3-0 whitewash in the T20 series.

Ireland's nemesis Mohammad Nabi smashed nine sixes - a T20 record for a player from a non-Test playing country - as he flayed the Boys in Green for 89 from 30 balls to lift the hosts to a seemingly out-of-reach 233-8 on another peach of a batting pitch in the Delhi suburb.

Nabi reached his 50 from 21 balls but Stirling was on course to better that, hitting three sixes before he was caught by Nabi, one short. Fellow opener Stuart Thompson then took up the gauntlet, hitting five maximums in another breathtaking knock of 43 from 18 balls.

Wilson maintained the momentum - clearing the ropes twice - and Ireland remained on target and ahead of Afghanistan's comparable score until the fourth ball of the 19th over but crucially lost regular wickets.

The most unlikely of victories remained a possibility for Ireland until Wilson was caught off leg-spinning guru Rashid Khan for 59 from 34 balls at the start of the penultimate over.

Rashid took three wickets in an over for the second successive game and was named Man of the Series after Ireland were dismissed for 205, the Boys in Green managing a total of 12 maximums to 16 by their hosts, who are now on a record run of 11 international T20 wins.

Irish Independent

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