Ireland’s battle to level series against confident Afghanistan
Afghanistan to win
The first game of the 3-match ODI series went down the wire with Afghanistan holding its nerves towards the end to snatch a 16-run win in the game against Ireland. The Irish middle order looked determined and nearly gave the Afghans a huge scare with good hitting towards the end of the innings. They would now be aiming to level the series in the next game and set up a decider for the final game.
Ireland would be proud of their efforts in the run chase and have looked good in the last two games having got used to the pitch conditions here. They struggled against the spinners in the last game and this is one of the areas they would have to work on here. It will be interesting to see if the side is able to show character and win the game leveling the series against a determined Afghan side.
Asghar Afghan would be happy to have taken an early lead in the series but the skipper would also know about the scope of improvement going into the next game. Their middle order collapse nearly undid the strong opening stand. He would be happy with the efforts of his bowlers in the game and look for a similar show from them to take the series 2-0.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz announced his return with an entertaining hundred and he would look to offering another good opening stand with Javed Ahmadi who also played well. The likes of Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan and Mohammad Nabi will have to play well in the middle after having failed in the last game. Down the order the side would also look for quick runs from Najibullah Zadran and Gulbbadin Naib.
Mujeeb ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Nabi did a splendid job with the ball in the last game and this would make the skipper happy. They are the pillars of this bowling attack and looked in good form in the last game. The side would however want to see tighter lines from Naveen-ul-Haq with the new ball and also from Naid and Azmatullah Omarzai during the middle overs.
Asghar Afghan (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Javed Ahmadi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
|M Ur Rahman||10.0||0||40||2||4|
|M Ur Rahman||10.0||0||40||2||4|
Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Javed Ahmadi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz
Andrew Balbirnie’s side did manage to scare the Afghans with their run chase but lack of contributions from the top order and poor bowling during the 1st power play cost them dearly. Balbirnie would want his side to put that behind as they aim to level the series in this game. The side would need to come up with a spirited show as the Afghans looked good in the 1st game.
Openers Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien will have to play the lead role after failing with the bat in the last game. Balbirnie needs to steady the middle order where Harry Tector, Curtis Camper and Lorcan Tucker played splendidly in the last game. Simi Singh and Gareth Delany have good hitting abilities and they would have to contribute quick runs towards the end of the game.
Craig Young and Barry McCarthy were expensive with the new ball in the last game and they would need to make amends here. Andy McBrine’s 5-wicket haul in the last game would give him immense confidence in this game. Simi Singh and Kevin O’Brien also did well with the ball. With Campher and Stirling in the attack the side has good amount of bowling options.
Andrew Balbirnie (c), Paul Stirling, Kevin O Brien, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Simi Singh, Gareth Delany, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Craig Young
Kevin O'Brien, Simi Singh, Andy McBrine, Craig Young, Curtis Campher, Paul Stirling, Barry McCarthy, Lorcan Tucker, Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Andy Balbirnie
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||18||0 mm.||6.06 k/h||From: NNE||0%|
|03h||19||0 mm.||6.56 k/h||From: NNE||0%|
|06h||20||0 mm.||6.19 k/h||From: NNE||0%|
|09h||20||0 mm.||7.11 k/h||From: N||0%|
|12h||20||0 mm.||6.42 k/h||From: N||0%|
|15h||19||0 mm.||6.14 k/h||From: N||0%|
|18h||19||0 mm.||4.93 k/h||From: NNW||0%|
|21h||19||0 mm.||4.49 k/h||From: NNW||0%|
The skies over would be clear over Abu Dhabi on January 24 and we would see a hot day. Though the surface is lot slower from what we usually see at this venue it is still a good surface to bat on. Spinners would get their turn and bounce on this track. Batting first a side would need to have a target score of 300 runs in mind to win here.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi is a large stadium with a good batting surface. Batsmen who work hard for their twos and threes have done well here. The condition here is very difficult for the fast bowlers with low bounce on the surface. Spinners have enjoyed bowling at this venue as there is plenty of turn on offer.
The pitch was flat in the last game where the batsmen were able to play their strokes freely. It was during the second inning that the ball started to grip and turn sharply. Both the captains would have this in their mind and the side winning the toss should have no hesitation in batting first on this track.
The first ODI went down the wire and Ireland impressed even though they went to lose the game. The Irish side would have to work on its batting at the top and control the flow of runs with the new ball. Afghanistan’s main weapon their spin attack is doing well and this would give immense confidence to the side. They will want their middle order to fire in this game. Though it is expected to be a close contest, Afghanistan would start nose ahead with a better bowling attack.
Afghanistan to win