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Afghanistan and Ireland go head to head with one eye on ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018

Opportunity for Rashid to break into the top-five; Stirling looks for his first century against the Asian side; third-ranked Nabi not too far behind Shakib in the all-rounders’ rankings
Afghanistan Cricket

Afghanistan and Ireland will have one eye on the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 when they go head to head in a three-match ODI series starting in Sharjah on Tuesday, 5 December.

Tenth-ranked Afghanistan and 12th-ranked Ireland will both feature in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, a 10-team event from which two teams will join Australia, Bangladesh, hosts England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to be staged in the United Kingdom.

The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 will be played in Zimbabwe from 2 to 25 March, and apart from these two sides and hosts Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Windies have already secured positions. Hong Kong, Scotland and Kenya are battling out for the two remaining places from the ICC World Cricket League Championship, which will be confirmed by 8 December.

The 10-team line-up for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 will be completed in Namibia in February 2018 when the finalists of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 will take a step forward in cherishing their dreams of playing in the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over competitions.

For Afghanistan and Ireland, the three-match ODI series will serve as an opportunity to prepare and try various playing combinations before the Zimbabwe challenge. For Ireland, this series will be far more important as according to the existing Future Tours Programme, this is its only ODI series before the qualifiers.

In contrast, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe will give a final touch-up to their preparations when they will take on each other in a five-ODI series from 9-19 February in Sharjah.

Apart from aiming to cement their places in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, players from either side will also be targeting to improve their positions in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Player Rankings.

In the batting table, which is headed by India’s Virat Kohli, Ireland’s Paul Stirling is the highest-ranked batsman from either side in 35th position. The 27-year-old top-order batsman has played 84 ODIs, including 13 against Afghanistan in which he has scored 477 runs. Stirling will be targeting a personal milestone in this series when he will try to convert his two scores of 90s (95 and 99 in March this year) into three figures to register his first century against the Asian side.

Ireland is ranked 12th in the ICC ODI rankings.
Ireland is ranked 12th in the ICC ODI rankings.

Ireland’s experience trio of Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien are outside the top-50 in 54th, 59th and 74th positions respectively. Kevin, a veteran of 112 ODIs, Porterfield, who has played 106 ODIs, and Niall, who has represented his country in 87 ODIs, have collectively played 29 ODIs against Afghanistan in which they have scored a total of 773 runs.

Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi is his side’s highest-ranked batsman in 53rd position and will be looking to enter the top-50. Nabi has played 13 ODIs against Ireland in which he has scored 258 runs and taken 15 wickets.

Other Afghanistan batsmen aiming to make upward movements include Samiullah Shenwari (89th), Rehman Shah (91st), Zoor Ali Zadran (96th) and Asghar Stanikzai (99th).

Amongst the bowlers, Afghanistan’s wrist spinner Rashid Khan features prominently in the list in ninth position. The teenager has a good opportunity to climb the ladder as he is not only six points behind India’s eighth-ranked Axar Patel but is also in his qualification period, meaning if he takes wickets, then he will jump in the rankings.

This will be Rashid’s third series against Ireland. In 29 ODIs to date, Rashid has taken 63 wickets, including seven for 18 against the Windies in St Lucia in June 2017.

Apart from Rashid, Nabi (16th), Hamza Hotak (21st), Mirwais Ashraf (31st) and Dawlat Zadran (47th) feature inside the top-50. These stats clearly give Afghanistan an advantage against their European rivals in a series which will be played in conditions known better to them.

Nabi is also the highest-ranked all-rounder from either side in third position, 17 points behind second-ranked Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh, while Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez is the top-ranked all-rounder. 

Series schedule:

5 Dec – 1st ODI, Sharjah

7 Dec – 2nd ODI, Sharjah

10 Dec – 3rd ODI, Sharjah

MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on 5 December, before the start of Afghanistan v Ireland ODIs):

Rank      Team                    Points

1.      South Africa         121

2.      India                     120

3.      Australia               114

4.      England                114

5.      New Zealand        111

6.      Pakistan               99

7.      Bangladesh          92

8.      Sri Lanka              83

9.      West Indies          77

10.   Afghanistan          54

11.   Zimbabwe            52

12.   Ireland                  41

(Developed by David Kendix)

MRF Tyres ICC ODI Player Rankings (as on 5 December, before the start of Afghanistan v Ireland ODIs):

BATSMEN (top 10)

 Rank      Player                  Team     Points   Avge      Highest Rating

   1         Virat Kohli            Ind         889!      55.74    889 v NZ at Kanpur 2017

   2         AB de Villiers       SA          872        54.06    902 v NZ at Auckland 2015

   3         David Warner       Aus        865        44.94    880 v Pak at Adelaide 2017

   4         Babar Azam         Pak        846*!     58.60    846 v SL at Sharjah 2017

   5         Quinton de Kock  SA          808!      45.85    808 v Ban at East London 2017

   6         Joe Root              Eng        802        50.00    808 v Win at Bristol 2017

   7         Rohit Sharma       Ind         799!      44.33    799 v NZ at Kanpur 2017

   8         Faf du Plessis      SA          773       43.90    791 v SL at Cape Town 2017

   9         Hashim Amla       SA          766        51.25    901 v Eng at Trent Bridge 2012

  10        Kane Williamson  NZ          760        46.31    798 v SA at Centurion 2015 

SELECTED RANKINGS

Rank      Player                  Team     Points   Avge      Highest Rating

  23        Kyle Coetzer        Sco        636*!     42.63    636 v PNG at Dubai 2017

  35        Paul Stirling          Ire          566        33.85    693 v Pak at Dublin 2013

  53        Mohammad Nabi Afg         533        29.42    545 v Ban at Mirpur 2016

  54        Kevin O'Brien       Ire          532        31.64    602 v Net at Amstelveen 2013

  59        W. Porterfield       Ire          518        31.54    537 v Ban at Belfast 2010

  65        Calum MacLeod   Sco        508        32.97    511 v PNG at Dubai 2017

  74        Niall O'Brien         Ire          487        29.86    513 v Ind at Hamilton 2015

  89        S. Shenwari         Afg         446        30.80    561 v NZ at Napier 2015

  91        Rahmat Shah       Afg         436*      34.60    448 v Ire at Greater Noida 2017

  94        R. Berrington        Sco        426        24.81    459 v SL at Hobart 2015

  96        Noor Ali Zadran    Afg         422        26.27    469 v Zim at Sharjah 2015

  98        Gary Wilson         Ire          418        24.54    491 v Aus at Belfast 2012

  99        Asghar Stanikzai  Afg         417        22.64    450 v SL at Dunedin 2015

 

BOWLERS (top 10)

Rank      Player                  Team     Points   Avge      Eco.       Highest Rating

   1         Hasan Ali             Pak        759*!     19.82    5.11      759 v SL at Sharjah 2017

   2         Imran Tahir          SA          743        23.72    4.64      786 v SL at Johannesburg 2017

   3         Jasprit Bumrah     Ind         719*!     22.26    4.76      719 v NZ at Kanpur 2017

   4         Josh Hazlewood  Aus        714        23.85    4.69      732 v Eng at Edgbaston 2017

   5         Kagiso Rabada    SA          708        26.08    5.05      724 v Eng at Lord's 2017

   6         Mitchell Starc       Aus        684        20.13    4.81      783 v NZ at Melbourne 2015

   7         Trent Boult           NZ          671        26.21    5.04      766 v Ind at Delhi 2016

   8         Akshar Patel        Ind         653*      31.31    4.43      663 v Aus at Nagpur 2017

   9         Rashid Khan        Afg         647*!     14.74    3.97      647 v Win at St Lucia 2017

  10=      Sunil Narine         Win        646        26.46    4.12      791 v SL at Jamaica 2013

              Liam Plunkett       Eng        646!      30.22    5.77      646 v Win at Southampton 2017

 

SELECTED RANKINGS

Rank      Player                  Team     Points   Avge      Eco.       Highest Rating

  16        Mohammad Nabi Afg         618        32.74    4.29      653 v Zim at Harare 2017

  21        Hamza Hotak       Afg         564*      25.40    3.92      571 v Ire at Greater Noida 2017

  31        Mirwais Ashraf     Afg         542*      29.56    4.06      579 v Ban at Mirpur 2016

  33        Tim Murtagh         Ire          538*      38.61    4.77      548 v NZ at Malahide 2017

  47        Dawlat Zadran     Afg         506        28.44    5.33      574 v Zim at Sharjah 2016

  52        George Dockrell   Ire          488        35.30    4.58      589 v Win at Nelson 2015

  63        Kevin O'Brien       Ire          450        31.27    5.24      477 v Zim at Harare 2010

  67        Josh Davey          Sco        447*      21.57    5.07      456 v Zim at Edinburgh 2017

  74        Andy McBrine      Ire          427*      37.95    4.79      440 v Afg at Greater Noida 2017

  83        Alasdair Evans     Sco        411*      27.79    5.00      415 v PNG at Dubai 2017

  85        Safyaan Sharif     Sco        401*!     30.90    4.97      401 v PNG at Dubai 2017

  90        Paul Stirling          Ire          382        45.05    4.78      440 v Afg at Belfast 2016

  94        Gulbadin Naib      Afg         364*!     30.60    5.20      364 v Win at St Lucia 2017

 

ALL-ROUNDERS (top three)

Rank      Player                  Team     Points   Highest Rating

   1         M. Hafeez            Pak        352       438 v Ind at Kolkata 2013

   2         Shakib Al Hasan  Ban        346       453 v Zim at Chittagong 2009

   3         Mohammad Nabi Afg         329       349 v Ire at Greater Noida 2017

 *Indicates a provisional rating

! Indicates career-best rating

For more information on player rankings, please click here.

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