Paul Stirling's spectacular all-round show was enough to earn him the Man of the Match award but not enough to help Ireland over the line as Afghanistan continued their domination over the Irish in the 2nd ODI of the five-match series at Greater Noida.
Asghar Stanikzai's maiden hundred and Rashid Khan's exceptional leg spin bowling handed the Afghans yet another victory in the series.
Mohammad Shahzad started proceedings for Afghans in his typical belligerent style. Rahmat Shah and Stanikzai continued thereafter with the former smashing a maiden ODI hundred that included six fours and six sixes. He led Afghanistan to their highest ever ODI total, a mammoth 338.
Ireland got off to a flier courtesy Joyce and Stirling but a poor umpiring decision saw the back of Stirling, who had picked up six wickets with the ball as well. Although William Porterfield and Stuart Thompson tried to resurrect the chase, Rashid Khan's googlies proved to be too good for the Irish in the end.
Brief scores: Afghanistan 338/10 (Stanikzai 101, Shah 68, Stirling 6/55) beat Ireland 304/10 (Stirling 95, Joyce 55, Rashid Khan 6/43)
Here are the talking points from the second ODI at Greater Noida.
#5 Shahzad fires Afghanistan to rapid start
Mohammad Shahzad was on fire at Noida as he helped himself to seven boundaries within the first three overs, including four in an over from Chase. The wicket-keeper batsman took Afghanistan past 50 in the eighth over with three fours off Tim Murtagh.
The Ireland bowlers were clueless as Shahzad ran riot with his hoicks over the in-field. He ensured that none of the seamers settled into a rhythm by taking them on when they ever-so-slightly erred in their lines.
He raced to a half-century in 33 balls, knocking Dockrell through mid-wicket. The left-arm spinner got the better of him soon after as the batsman missed a straight delivery to be dismissed leg before wicket for 63 off 43 balls.
#4 Rahmat Shah's uncharacteristic knock
Afghanistan lost momentum after their openers departed in consecutive overs and Rahmat Shah walked in at the fall of Shahzad's wicket. A career strike rate of under 70 does not inspire confidence in the modern game but Shah altered his image with an aggressive half-century.
The middle-order batsman combined caution with aggression, latching on to anything short from the spinners. He dispatched Dockrell over mid-wicket twice in an over before rotating the strike calmly.
A few overs later he took on Chase and hit him for a six and four off consecutive balls. Shah raced to a run-a-ball half-century as Afghanistan recovered from 94/2 to 190/2 before Dockrell dismissed him for 68 to end the 96-run stand.
#3 Asghar Stanikzai slams career-best score and maiden hundred
Stanikzai walked in with Afghanistan at 94/2. He played second fiddle to a rampant Rahmat Shah and seemed happy to stride along at a strike rate in the 60s. However, the experienced middle order batsman let loose after he crossed 40.
He hit Tim Murtagh for 19 in an over that included two sixes and a four and reached his fifty in 65 balls. He then took on Peter Chase in his comeback spell and slammed a hat-trick of sixes in an over that leaked 23 runs.
The batsman raced to his maiden hundred in 88 balls as Afghanistan continued to pile on the runs. Stanikzai was instrumental in setting up a huge total for the Afghans on a pitch that slowed up a bit as the game progressed.
#2 Stirling sizzles with his leg breaks before slamming 95
An off-spinner by trade, Ireland opener and all-rounder, Paul Stirling tried his hand with wrist spinners and ended up with the best figures by an Irishman in One Day cricket.
He got variable bounce, drift and turn and made full use of it to grab six wickets, three of which came in the final over. It was bizarre that Porterfield did not give Stirling and McBrine more overs when Stanikzai was running rampant.
Stirling proceeded to stamp his class with the bat as well, playing some trademark shots to race to a fine half-century. He lost Ed Joyce on the way, but was unperturbed and looked set for a hundred when the young Rashid Khan had him LBW for 95. Replays, though, showed that the umpire had made a mistake to rob Stirling of a deserved hundred.
#1 Rashid Khan once again performs the rescue act
Rashid Khan has been a trump card for Afghanistan in limited overs cricket. The wily leg-spinner once again wove a web around the Irish batsmen and disrupted the rhythm of the chase.
He picked up the vital wicket of Paul Stirling and followed it up with the dismissal of Niall O'Brien. He had the skipper, Porterfield, with a googly in his next spell. Although Ireland kept recovering after each wicket, Rashid ensured they did not run away with the game by returning to take crucial wickets.
When Wilson and Stuart Thompson looked like taking Ireland to victory, the leggie returned to dismiss the former, cleaning him up with a well disguised wrong'un. He ended up with six wickets to take his side to victory.