Saturday 24 March 2018

Five wickets for McCarthy as Ireland set up Afghan decider

Ireland's Barry McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's Barry McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile

David Townsend

Barry McCarthy claimed his first five-wicket haul for Ireland last night as the Boys in Green bounced back to beat Afghanistan by 51 runs and set up a decider to their three-match, one-day international series in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

As veteran wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien won his 200th cap, it was the younger stars who took centre stage with Paul Stirling and George Dockrell hitting powerful half-centuries in Ireland's total of 271-9, before McCarthy struck with 5-46 to secure the victory.

Skipper William Porterfield won the toss and there was no sign of the shell-shocked batting against spinner Mujeeb Zadran from Tuesday's defeat as he added 115 for the first wicket with Stirling - the pair's fourth century partnership began with two thumping boundaries in the teenager's first over.

Porterfield fell for 47 and when Stirling went for 82 from 96 balls, with eight fours and a six, the innings briefly stalled.

Four wickets fell for 28 runs before it was brought to life again by Dockrell, who smashed a number of trademark short-arm pulls to the boundary in an Ireland best of 62 not out.

With Boyd Rankin feeling under the weather and rested, young seamers McCarthy and Chase picked up the baton, chipping away wickets at vital times, with Tim Murtagh building pressure with another economical performance.

O'Brien wasn't to be denied on his landmark appearance and after being stumped himself for 13, produced a sharp piece of work with the gloves to remove the dangerous Rahmat Shah.

It showed there is still life in the old dog but it was the youngsters's day as Afghanistan were bowled out for 220 in the 46th over.

Irish Independent

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