Ireland vs Afghanistan One Day International Series, 27th August: The First One Day International between Ireland and Afghanistan kept the touring team’s winning spree alive. They are overall unbeaten in this limited-overs competition.
After a T20I series completely dominated by Afghanistan in Bready, the action moved forward to Belfast on Monday. The two teams were set to play the first of the three ODI matches. The touring team had the advantage of the momentum that got carried over from their T20I series win against Ireland just a couple of days prior to the start of the ODI series. The Afghanistan team was making their 99th ODI appearance, the first of which was played way back in 2006. Eventually, Afghanistan engaged the home team into a low-scoring thriller to win the first ODI by a commendable 29 runs!
Bowler Driven, AGAIN!
Despite losing the two T20 international matches in chases, Ireland captain William Porterfield chose to bowl first after winning the Toss. The Afghan hero with the bat and the ‘Player of the series’ from the recently concluded T20I, Hazratullah Zazai, was included in the ODI squad and was also selected for the first match. It didn’t work out quite well for him as he was dismissed cheaply for 14 by Boyd Rankin. The 2nd wicket fell soon and Afghanistan was two down for 25. The 3rd and 4th wicket partnerships added fifty-plus each, 53 and 77 respectively. These two partnerships had put Afghanistan in a way better position and on the fall of the 4th wicket they were on 155. Irish quicks- Rankin bagged three, while Tim Murtagh picked up four wickets. Afghanistan had a total of 227 for 9 on board at the end of 50 overs.
Afghanistan’s answer to defending a relatively low score according to today’s ODI standards was rather crisp. The bowlers used the slow surface to their total advantage and dismissed all ten Irish batsmen for 198 in 48.3 overs. The only fifty plus score was in Andy Balbirnie’s account who scored 55. Even when the required run rate was under control and the Irish batsmen were getting the grip, Mujeeb Ur Rahman stepped foot and changed the game with the best economy rate for the day. Not a single bowler from the Afghan side was hit for more than 4 an over. Speaks a lot about their control and an overall balance between the batting and bowling units.
The ODI series followed the same libretto as the T20I series in terms of being bowler-dominated. The two teams in question received their Test status together from the ICC, a year back. And now as we move forward, the 2nd ODI between them is set to be the 100th ODI for Afghanistan. If they emerge victorious on the instance of their 100th ODI appearance, it will also be a series victory for them.
Afghanistan 227 for 9 (Naib 64, Shahidi 54, Murtagh 4 for 31, Rankin 3 for 44) beat Ireland 198 (Balbirnie 55, Wilson 38, Alam 2 for 34, Rashid 2 for 41) by 29 runs