With the series tied at one apiece after the first game was washed out, Afghanistan, who chose to bat after winning the toss, wasn't in the best of positions early on but recovered courtesy an eighth-wicket partnership between Rashid and Nabi to ride to 229 for 7 from 50 overs at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast on Sunday (July 17).
Ireland’s response got off to a shaky start, with four wickets down for 67 runs, but a healthy middle order stand between Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling kept the home team in the game. However, once the 63-run fifth-wicket alliance was broken, the bowlers took control as Ireland was bowled out for 150, handing Afghanistan a 79-run win.
The Afghanistan bowlers did a good job in holding an explosive Ireland batting unit down with Rashid picking up 4 wickets for 21 runs from 8 overs, and earlier, it was Rashid’s effort with the bat that really lifted his team.
When Afghanistan batted, it soon found itself 90 for 5 — a score with was achieved mainly because of Rahmat Shah’s 48. Nabi, who came in at No 7, did a great job of stabilising the innings but Afghanistan didn’t get the boost it needed until Rashid came along. Coming in at No 8, the 17-year-old wielded the long handle to gather 60 runs from 44 deliveries with five fours and two sixes.
Andy McBrine was the pick of the bowlers for Ireland with figures of 2 for 29 from 10 overs. Peter Chase picked up a couple of wickets too, conceding 52 runs from 8 overs.
With the ball in hand, Rashid’s legspin was brought on with four Irish batsmen back in the hut and his day at the office only got better with a fine show with the ball that ensured Ireland would not mount a comeback. Rashid, who was wicketless in his first four overs, bagged four wickets in his next four. Rahmat Shah picked up a couple of wickets to aid Rashid in his effort.
The fifth and final one-dayer will be held at the same venue on Tuesday.