Afghanistan beat Ireland by 28 runs in the third T20I between both the teams at the Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida. With this win, Afghans completed a clean sweep by winning the three-match T20I series 3-0.
Chasing 234 to win, Ireland openers got their team off to a flying start as they put on 65 runs in the first four overs when Paul Stirling was caught by Mohammad Nabi off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran for a 20-ball 49. Thompson took the centre stage after the fall of Stirling as he took the attack to the opposition. He punished the Afghan bowlers before he was castled by Amir Hamza for 43 just after the powerplay overs.
Wicket kept falling at regular intervals as Afghanistan inched ahead in the match. Gary Wilson kept his team in the chase by scoring 59 off 34 and looked threatening to take the match away from the Afghans. When Rashid Khan had him in the penultimate over, it was all over for the Irishmen. Khan also dismissed Lorcan Tucker off the very next ball to seal the game for his team. He took three wickets in the 19th over and ended up with figures of 3/28 in his four overs. Eventually, Ireland were dismissed for 205 in 19.2 overs and handed Afghanistan a 28-run win.
After choosing to bowl first, the Ireland opening bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Mohammad Shahzad. Kevin O'Brien drew the first blood when he dismissed Najeeb Tarakai for just 3 in the third over before Usman Ghani and Shahzad put on a 74-run partnership in just 7.4 overs. Shahzad reached his fifty and looked set for a big one.
Shahzad got out for 72 off 43 balls when he was caught by George Dockrell at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Jacob Mulder. Afghanistan lost three wickets for just two runs in seven balls. It was when Nabi joined Samiullah Shenwari at the crease and Nabi took on the bowlers right from the word go.
Shenwari departed for 13 but Nabi continued his onslaught as he reached his fifty off just 21 balls and took Afghan’s score over 200. Nabi was run out off the last ball of the innings for a well made 89 off just 30 balls with six fours and nine sixes. Afghans posted a mammoth 233 runs on the board in their 20 overs. O’Brien picked 4 wickets for Ireland while Mulder chipped in with 2.
As many as 438 runs were scored in 39.2 overs in this match. Nabi was awarded the Man of the award while Rashid Khan was awarded the Player of the series.
Brief scores: Afghanistan 233/8 in 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 90, Mohammad Shahzad 72, Kevin O’Brien 4/45) beat Ireland 205 in 19.2 overs (Gary Wilson 53, Paul Stirling 49, Stuart Thompson 43, Rashid Khan 3/28) by 28 runs.
Here are some of the records created in the match:
11- This is Afghanistan's 11 straight win in T20Is, the longest winning streak by any team in T20Is.
21- Number of balls taken by Nabi to reach his fifty, the fastest by any Afghan batsman.
50- This is the first time a bilateral T20I series has recorded 50 sixes.
89- Nabi’s 89 is the highest score by a batsman batting at No.6 or lower in T20Is.
69- Barry McCarthy has conceded 69 runs in his 4 overs, the most runs conceded by any bowler in T20Is. He broke Kyle Abbott's record of 68 runs.
91- Ireland’s total of 91 for the loss of one wicket after the first six overs is the joint-highest Powerplay score in T20I history equaling 91-1 in 6 overs by Netherlands vs Ireland in 2014.
233- This is Afghanistan’s highest total in T20Is.
296.66- Strike-rate at which Nabi scored his runs. No batsman has scored more than 89 runs in any Twenty20 innings at a strike-rate over 296.66.
296.66- Nabi’s strike-rate is the third highest by any batsman with at least 50 runs in T20Is.