Afghanistan’s Cricket World Cup preparations were dented by a lacklustre 72-run defeat to Ireland in Sunday’s first one-day international in Belfast.
A third-wicket stand of 99 from Paul Stirling (71) and captain William Porterfield (53) helped Ireland to a modest total of 210 all out.
But Mark Adair claimed 4-19 as Afghanistan’s were ruthlessly exposed and they were all out for 138 inside 36 overs.
Ireland failed to win a match in a recent tri-series with Bangladesh and West Indies. And the early losses of James McCollum (4) and Andy Balbirnie (4) did little to boost their confidence.
Stirling made six fours and two maximums from a 94-ball knock. While Porterfield added six boundaries.
Kevin O’Brien made 32 before the tail was swept up. With relative ease by Aftab Alam (3-28) and Dawlat Zadran (3-35).
Afghanistan’s innings started badly with Mohammad Shahzad making just two. Before being trapped leg before by Tim Murtagh and the same man accounted for Rahmat Shah (4).
Adair bowled Hazratullah Zazai (14) and also stopped Hashmatullah Shahidi (12) and Gulbadin Naib (20) in their tracks.
Asghar Afghan (29) and Mohammad Nabi (27) made decent starts without really kicking on as Afghanistan‘s final six wickets went for just 44 runs.
Adair grabbed 4 wickets while Rankin took 3 wickets.
It was a much-needed win for the Irish and the teams will meet again at the same venue on Tuesday.
Afghanistan was dominating since quite a time but the Irish took full advantage of their home. Only 2 ODI will be played between these two rivals. Afghanistan will be looking for the World Cup from now on. They will start the campaign against the Kiwis.
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