Thursday 18 July 2019

Stirling wary of Rashid spin threat in T20

Ireland's Paul Stirling. Photo: PA
Ireland's Paul Stirling. Photo: PA

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Paul Stirling will resume his battle with the world's best spin bowler today near the Himalayas as Ireland take on Afghanistan in the first T20 of a nine-game series, culminating in a first away Test match next month in Dehradun.

If big-hitting Stirling is generally the key to Ireland winning white-ball games, then the same is true in the opposite camp of Rashid Khan, who has mesmerised batsmen and charmed T20 crowds from Adelaide to Hove with his magical mix of leg-spin and googlies.

The teams have enjoyed fierce rivalry in the last decade but Rashid has given his side the edge since Ireland's treble-winning season of 2013, as T20 captain Stirling admitted yesterday.

"Whenever Rashid performs well for them, or we don't play him particularly well, that really is a big advantage for Afghanistan," Stirling said. "So he'll definitely be one of the bowlers we'll be trying to negate but they've got more than just Rashid Khan, they're a really good outfit."

Afghanistan lead 9-3 in the T20 head-to-head, including the last seven games, and should claim the three-match series, but results are much closer in one-day internationals.

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