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Toss Winner - Afganistan won the toss and chose to bat first
Afganistan beat Ireland by 21 runs
Afghanistan won the rain-marred 1st T20I against Ireland and will now look to secure the series in the 2nd game!
Afghanistan to win this game!
Tournament: Afghanistan v Ireland | Format: T20 | Venue: Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground, Greater Noida ,India | Toss: To BatBet Now
The 1st T20I between Afghanistan and Ireland turned out to be a closely fought encounter that Afghanistan eventually won by 11 runs (DLS method). After winning the rain-marred contest, Afghanistan has thus taken a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series.
Ireland did show promise and wouldn't be too disheartened. However, Afghanistan does look like the better all-round side in these conditions which clearly favor them. The focus will now shift to the 2nd T20I at the same venue on Sunday. Ireland will hope to level the series but it will be a challenge against a confident Afghanistan side who will be eager to secure the series.
Afghanistan wasn't completely at their best in the first T20I but yet managed a win. They had a few positives to take back from the first game. The main highlight for them was the bowling performance of their star spinner, Rashid Khan, who returned with figures of 3-22 to break the Ireland innings.
However, their other bowlers did leak a lot of runs and the performance of Mujeeb Ur Rahman who conceded 49 runs in his 4 overs will be a concern. Shapoor Zadran was expensive as well. But Gulbadin Naib made up for it with a miserly spell which bodes well for the team.
In the batting department, Afghanistan's top-order didn't produce big scores but the 13-ball 28 by Rahmanullah Gurbaz did help. Najibullah Zadran's unbeaten 42 down the order then further help seal the game for the team while chasing a target of 173. They would, however, need more contributions from the likes of Hazratullah Zazai, Karim Janat and captain Asghar Afghan. These pitches should favor the batsmen and now it will be up to the batting order to contribute as a unit.
Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Asghar Afghan (c), Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Shapoor Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Karim Janat, Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib, Hazratullah Zazai, Samiullah Shenwari, Shapoor Zadran, N Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Nabi
Ireland would rue the fact that they let go of a wonderful start in the last game and ended up with a below-par score. At one point, while batting first, Ireland was 111-1 in 12.1 overs and was looking to set a target of about 190-200. However, their middle and lower order failed and that is where they lost the game. That being said, their top-order was superb and that will give the team a lot of heart. The experienced duo of Paul Stirling (60) and Kevin O Brien (35) gave the team a solid base and Ireland would want them to continue that role at the top.
Captain Andrew Balbirnie, along with Gareth Delany and Harry Tector would have to shoulder some responsibility to help the team score healthy totals. As for the bowling, barring Simi Singh (2-18), there wasn't any notable performance by anyone else. Boyd Rankin conceded 44 runs in his 4 overs and none of the others could take a single wicket. Joshua Little, Craig Young and George Dockrell didn't look comfortable with these conditions yet and it would be interesting to see if they do any better on the second game.
Paul Stirling, Kevin O Brien, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Simi Singh, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Craig Young, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin, Joshua Little
WB Rankin, Simi Singh, CA Young, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Paul Stirling, Kevin O'Brien, Lorcan Tucker, Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Andy Balbirnie
The pitch at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground should again be a good one for batting. As we saw in the last game, the ball was coming on nicely to the bat and even the spinners went for runs early on. Towards the middle part of the innings, the pitch does slow down and then the slower bowlers will get some help. The weather on Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy at Greater Noida. So we should have a full game.
All the games at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground have so far been between Afghanistan and Ireland. It has been a high-scoring venue and out of the two 4 games, totals of 200-plus were achieved on two occasions. The highest total here has been 233-8 by Afghanistan against Ireland in 2017. For the second T20I on Sunday, we can expect a total of 180-200 by the team batting first.
The team winning the toss will look to bat first and put on a healthy total to later put pressure on the opposition.
Afghanistan and Ireland have produced some close contests in the limited-overs cricket. However, Afghanistan has really had the edge over their rivals in T20Is in the last couple of years. They have beaten Ireland in the last 11 completed T20Is on the trot and look likely to extend that marvelous record.
Playing in Indian conditions is a boon for them as it suits their players perfectly. Furthermore, with Rashid Khan finding super form, Afghanistan will become even more dangerous. Ireland showed a good fight and is expected to continue to display great resolve.
They might push the opposition in the second game if their batting unit puts up a special show. But in these conditions, Afghanistan will certainly have the upper hand and expect them to win the second match and secure the series.
Afghanistan to win this game!
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