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10 January 201523:07

Ahmadi’s all-round show goes in vain

Ireland earns hard-fought three-wicket win after eighth-wicket pair does the job with the bat

Ahmadi’s all-round show goes in vain - Cricket News

Ireland cricketer Ed Joyce scores a half-century.

Ireland got its campaign in the tri-series in the United Arab Emirates off to a winning start as it recorded a three-wicket win over Afghanistan at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday (January 10).

Afghanistan, which won the first game of the series against Scotland by eight wickets on Thursday, didn’t enjoy the best of days with the bat after being put in, but its bowlers made life hard for Ireland afterwards. Ireland, however, went past Afghanistan’s 180 in 43.2 overs courtesy Andy Balbirnie (30 not out) and Alex Cusack (26 not out).

Javed Ahmadi, who was instrumental in Afghanistan reaching where it did with his 89-ball 81 at the top of the order, was as effective with the ball as he finished with figures of 4 for 37 from ten overs, but his all-round effort went in vain.

Afghanistan was in trouble from early on in its innings. While Ahmadi looked solid at one end, it lost wickets at regular intervals at the other. Following the dismissal of Usman Ghani with the team score on 21, Afghanistan lost its next four wickets for 60 runs with not one of the batsmen entering double digits.

Afghanistan needed some sort of a partnership to ensure Ireland would not have it easy on a pitch that was beginning show wear and tear early on in the script. And Afghanistan got what it needed when Najibullah Zadran stepped up and complemented Ahmadi with a 63-ball 45.

While Zadran was belting Ireland’s bowlers all over the park, Ahmadi chose to play second fiddle. It was, however, the switch in his approach that led to Ahmadi’s dismissal as he chopped a short delivery from Kevin O’Brien on to his stumps after being bottled in for a few overs. This was Ahmadi’s second consecutive half-century and his fourth in One-Day Internationals. The partnership had yielded 49 runs and carried Afghanistan to 130 for 6.

There was still work to be done by the lower order Afghanistan batsmen, but they were unable to get as many runs as they would have liked with the Ireland bowlers going about their job clinically.

While George Dockrell spearheaded the attack with 4 for 35, Craig Young and John Mooney, the seamers, were effective as well, both returning miserly spells. Paul Stirling was perhaps the unluckiest of the lot – he bowled nine overs for just 13 runs but was unable to return with a wicket to his name.

Ireland got off to a poor start as well as it lost William Porterfield and Stirling, the openers, with a mere 13 runs on board.

Mohammad Nabi, who sent back Porterfield, had his second victim when he got the better of Gary Wilson. Ireland, then on 29 for 3, looked like it was about to make a mess of the run chase, but Ed Joyce and Niall O’Brien got stuck in and added 44 runs for the fifth wicket.

When Niall O’Brien was dismissed for 22, Kevin O’Brien joined Joyce and took the total to 102 before Joyce (51) fell, and Kevin O’Brien (30) followed 27 runs later to leave Ireland in a big spot of bother.

Ahmadi, who had accounted for Kevin O’Brien, trapped Mooney in front of the stumps a ball later to put more pressure on the Irish.

Balbirnie and Cusack, however, stitched together a patient, unbeaten 52-run partnership to carry Ireland through to safety.

Ireland faces Scotland in the third game of the series at the same venue on January 12.

Points Table:

After 10 Jan

TABLE

TEAM

PLAYED

WON

TIE / NO RESULT

LOST

POINTS

NRR

Ireland

0

1

0

0

2

0.577

Afghanistan

1

1

0

1

2

0.041

Scotland

1

0

0

1

0

-1.049

NET RUN RATE

TEAM

DATE

VENUE

OPPOSITION

RF

BF

RA

BA

RRF

RRA

NetRR

Afghanistan

8-Jan

ICC Academy 1

Scotland

240

228

237

270

10-Jan

DIC Stadium

Ireland

180

300

181

260

14-Jan

SZ Stadium

Scotland

0

0

0

0

17-Jan

DIC Stadium

Ireland

0

0

0

0

Totals

420

528

418

530

4.772727

4.732075

0.040651

Ireland

10-Jan

DIC Stadium

Afghanistan

181

260

180

300

12-Jan

DIC Stadium

Scotland

0

0

0

0

17-Jan

DIC Stadium

Afghanistan

0

0

0

0

19-Jan

ICC Academy 1

Scotland

0

0

0

0

Totals

181

260

180

300

4.176923

3.600000

0.576923

Scotland

8-Jan

ICC Academy 1

Afghanistan

237

270

240

228

12-Jan

DIC Stadium

Ireland

0

0

0

0

14-Jan

SZ Stadium

Afghanistan

0

0

0

0

19-Jan

ICC Academy 1

Ireland

0

0

0

0

Totals

237

270

240

228

5.266667

6.315789

-1.049122

Check

838

1058

838

1058

4.752363

4.752363

0.000000