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Ireland beats Comets for first win

Afghanistan falls to five-wicket defeat against Northern Districts in the ICC High Performance tour of Australia and New Zealand

Ireland beats Comets for first win - Cricket News
Ireland captain William Porterfield and Australian Capital Territory captain Andrew Harriott during the toss.

Ireland registered a convincing 124-run win over Australia Capital Territory (ACT Comets) while Afghanistan lost to Northern Districts by five wickets on Tuesday (October 7).

Ireland, playing its third match on the ICC High Performance tour of Australia and New Zealand tasted victory for the first time.  

Buoyed by the return of Gary Wilson, Niall O’Brien and William Porterfield, who were playing county cricket in England, Ireland posted a competitive total of 302 for 8 in 50 overs after being asked to bat. A collective effort from the bowlers then ensured the Comets’ folded for 178 in 40 overs. 

William Porterfield (23) and Andy Balbirnie (20), the openers, gave Ireland a solid start. However, Nathan McAndrew struck a double blow dismissing both the openers in space of three runs. Stuart Thompson was then run-out in the 18th over before O’Brien and Wilson collaborated to stitch together a 42-run stand for the fourth wicket to steady the ship. 

After Wilson was dismissed, the Comets’ bowlers could not curb a match-winning 83-run sixth-wicket stand in 8.3 overs between O’Brien and Andrew Poynter (34), as the duo propelled Ireland to a big score. O’Brien went on to make an enterprising half-century, scoring 88 off 79 balls, and John Mooney finished the innings with a quickfire 20-ball 41.

In reply, Matthew Condon (18) and Daniel Hughes (24) gave their team a steady start, scoring 38 runs in 8.4 overs. However, Peter Chase and Craig Young blew away the top order as the Comets’ found itself tottering at 88 for 5. 

With no significant lower-order partnerships, Ireland wrapped up the innings in 40 overs. Nick Larkin scored 48 while Vele Dukoski chipped in with 35. Young and Chase picked up three wickets each while Kevin O’Brien was rewarded for his economical bowling, finishing with figures of 2 for 8 from four overs.

To see the scorecard and review the Queensland v Ireland XI match in full, please click here

Upcoming Fixtures

7 October – Ireland v ACT XI, Manuka Oval, Canberra (day/night)
9 October – Ireland v ACT XI, Manuka Oval, Canberra
16 October – Ireland v Northern Districts, Seddon Park, Hamilton (day/night)
18 October – Ireland v New Zealand XI, Seddon Park, Hamilton (day/night)
21 October – Ireland v Canterbury, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
23 October – Ireland v Otago, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln

Elsewhere, in the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, Northern Districts made short work of Afghanistan’s 207 for 9, registering a comfortable win.

A combined effort from the top five batsmen helped the hosts cross the line with two overs to spare. Mitchell Santer (26) and Joe Carter (21), the openers, began cautiously, scoring 43 runs in the first nine overs. Mohammad Nabi, the Afghanistan captain, bowled Santer in the tenth over while Mirwais Ashraf trapped Carter lbw to reduce the hosts to 53 for 2. 

However, wickets did not bring any respite for Afghanistan as Bharat Popli (35) and Jono Hickey held the innings together with a 49-run stand for the third wicket. After Popli was dismissed, Hickey got to his fifty and Ben Horne (48 off 59) kept the Afghanistan bowlers at bay, as the duo added 92 runs in 16.4 overs. Hickey was finally dismissed by Yamin Ahmadzai for 51.

Earlier, after choosing to bat first, Afghanistan lost Hashmatullah Shaidi in the second over for a duck as James Baker completed a caught and bowled opportunity. Asghar Stanikzai (23) and Nasir Jamal took the innings forward with a 57-run stand to take the score to 64 before Stanikzai was dismissed by CW Andrews. 

Jamal then collaborated with Najibullah Zadran (36) to stitch another 57-run stand. However, with Afghanistan inching towards a competitive score, Anurag Verma and Baker cleaned up the middle-order and the tail to restrict the visitors to a modest total.

Afghanistan will now play its last match of the tour on Thursday against the same opposition. 

To see the scorecard and review the Queensland v Ireland XI match in full, please click here.

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