Afghanistan in Ireland T20I Series: Starter Pack closes with abandoned final T20I match

The 3rd and the final T20I game between Ireland and Afghanistan, scheduled on 24th of August, was abandoned due to wet outfield.

Heavy overnight rain and a wet outfield forced the abandonment of the third T20I between Ireland and Afghanistan in Bready. (AFP)

The touring team had already sealed the three-match series 2-0 and were looking forward to a whitewash in the closing game. Whereas, the home team was in desperate need of recovering from their losing streak. The final T20I was scheduled to be hosted at Bready but was abandoned without a ball being bowled. There was heavy rainfall overall and consequently a wet outfield which forced the match to abandonment.

The first two matches

What can an on-point spin attack not achieve across all formats, in any part of the world? The first and the second T20I, both, were witnesses to a collective effort from the Afghani spinners into dismantling the Irish batting line up. About the batting? Well, one name summed up the entire series – the eventual man of the series Hazratullah Zazai.

This left-handed batsman was playing his first T20I game since Dec 2016, which was his first. So in his overall 2nd T20I innings, he scored a match-winning 74 off 33 against Ireland on Monday. A consolidated attack from the bowlers added to it as Afghanistan saw it’s way to victory in the first T20 international match in this series. 

Zazai recreated another such inning in the 2nd T20I held on the 22nd of August. He scored an excellent 82 off 54 in Aghanistan’s total of 160 for 8. The 2nd highest runs were made by captain Asghar Afghan, in both the matches with scores of 31 and 37. We could easily see how Zazai led the batting front almost single-handedly. It was the Afghani spinners thought who later on stole the show by bowling the home team out for 79! Only William Porterfield and Irish skipper Gary Wilson scored in double digits- 22 and 33, respectively. Rashid Khan claimed four wickets and Mujeeb Ur Rahman bagged three. 

What’s next?

Afganistan had secured a massive victory of 81 runs against Ireland and thus sealed the three-match series- 2-0. Zazai was awarded the Man of the series award, after the third match was abandoned, for his two half-centuries. The scene now moves forward from Bready to Stormont which is set to host a three-match ODI series between these two teams. With Afghanistan having already gained momentum in this tour, we could be expecting a tight competition as the home team would target to make a hit of a comeback under captain William Porterfield. The 1st ODI is scheduled on Monday 27th August, at Belfast. 

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