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Afghanistan look to continue upward surge in CWCSL table

Afg v Ire, 2nd ODI, preview

After a thrilling first ODI, Afghanistan and Ireland will go again with more ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points on offer in the second of the three-match series.

Overview

Afghanistan vs Ireland, 2nd ODI
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
24 January 2021; 10am local time, 6.00am GMT

Aghanistan won the first ODI by just 16 runs after a see-saw encounter, but it meant they claimed their first points in the CWC Super League – and they now sit at fifth in the table. However, Ireland, who have already played four ODIs in the league – they lost 2-1 to England in August – will be hoping to claim the remaining 20 points on offer in this series, and move up the table themselves.

The Super League is high on the priority list for both teams, given it offers a chance for automatic promotion to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. With the likes of Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa yet to begin their campaigns, it gives Ireland and Afghanistan a chance to move ahead on the competition.

Afghanistan reigned supreme in the first ODI, thanks to a century from debutant Rahmanullah Gurbaz, which helped them post a good total, despite the rest of the line-up being dismantled by the off-spin of Andy McBrine. Spin was a problem for the Ireland batsmen as well, though, with Mujeeb Ur Rehman and Rashid Khan troubling them considerably. 

With the remaining ODIs taking place at the same venue, it’s safe to suggest spin will remain a significant factor in this series. 

Remember the last time:  

Afghanistan opted to bat, and got off to flier thanks to Rahmanullah Gurbaz, the debutant. He scored a run-a-ball 127, but Ireland triggered a slide at the other end, and Afghanistan would have been in trouble had it not been for a late cameo from Rashid Khan, who hammered a 30-ball 55 to boost the total to 287/9.

Ireland didn’t get off to a great start in their chase, reduced to 88/4 within 18 overs, but Curtis Campher and Lorcan Tucker got them out of the hole with a 86-run partnership. Tucker scored a 96-ball 83, and when Simi Singh hammered a 20-ball 23, Ireland had faint hopes of seeing through the chase. However, the Afghanistan attack managed to hold them off for a 16-run win, with Ireland finishing on 271/9.

What they said:

Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Afghanistan batsman: "I did not play today keeping any record in mind and was not aware of it. But, I am glad I could make it and I will try to play well in future as well" 

Lorcan Tucker, Ireland batsman: “Obviously, Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi together form a dangerous attack, but our plans revolved around nullifying that threat by turning over strike and taking minimal risks. We know that as long they’re not taking wickets, we’re going alright.”

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