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Ireland vs Afghanistan 1st ODI Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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After a thrilling battle back in March to see who will qualify for the “World Cup”, Ireland and Afghanistan are at it again in ODIs.

But, the story of this tour so far? The washed out third T20I on Friday was Ireland’s best moment of the series.

Yes, that is not an exaggeration.



Ireland’s problems against spin continued in the T20Is, where they were knocked over for less than 100 for the second time in four innings, dating back to the recent India series. The men in green are in desperate need of their experienced batsmen to hold the fort, and with a little more time available in the ODIs, a change of format could do the trick. After all, their record against Afghanistan in ODIs is encouraging, winning nine of 17 completed ODIs against them.

Afghanistan are continuing to fly high, and Ireland will have to play really well to beat them. After their miracle qualification for next year’s World Cup, Afghanistan have the opportunity to continue their amazing 2018 after their debut Test and T20I series wins against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Ireland. The confidence taken from the shortest format of the game, coupled with excellent spinners and strong-hitting batsmen could see Afghanistan be too strong for Ireland again. However, cricket is a funny game, and Afghanistan need to ensure they are on their game against a side keen to make a better impression.

Key to an Ireland win

No disrespect to Afghanistan’s seamers, but that is where Ireland have to target for success. 
To stand a chance in this clash, Ireland’s batsmen need to get runs on the board, and it could mean taking 35 or so without much damage off both Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. With set batsmen and wickets in hand, Ireland can look to score quicker against the other bowlers.
However, that is easier said than done. Can the likes of Paul Stirling, William Porterfield and Kevin O’Brien step up for Ireland against Afghanistan’s good bowling attack? Also, can their bowlers chip in with regular wickets? In the T20Is, Ireland managed to do this at stages, and with Tim Murtagh likely to come back into the side, they’ll be feeling good about their chances.
If they can combine this with runs on the board, they are a very good chance of taking a 1-0 series lead.

Key to an Afghanistan win

Hazratullah Zazai was Afghanistan’s star performer with the bat in the T20Is, but he is not in the ODI squad. 
The other batsmen left a little to be desired during the series, so the onus is on them to deliver against an Ireland side looking to right the wrong of the World Cup Qualifiers, as well as the recent T20I series. In their side, though, Afghanistan possess experienced campaigners such as Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi, who will assist in providing the backbone to their innings.
Also, the spinners will have a key role to play, but what impact can the seamers have in these conditions? Can they put Ireland under so much pressure that both spin and seam becomes too challenging to handle?

Possible teams

Niall O’Brien and Tim Murtagh return to the Ireland squad, which will help bolster their line up.
Ireland possible XI: 1. Paul Stirling, 2. James Shannon, 3. William Porterfield (c), 4. Andy Balbirnie, 5. Kevin O’Brien, 6. Niall O’Brien (wk), 7. Gary Wilson, 8. George Dockrell, 9. Peter Chase/Josh Little, 10. Tim Murtagh, 11. Boyd Rankin
For Afghanistan, there are a few possibilities. The following could be their XI for this clash, with all-rounders assisting with the balance of their side.
Afghanistan possible XI: 1. Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2. Gulbadin Naib, 3. Rahmat Shah, 4. Asghar Afghan (c), 5. Samiullah Shenwari, 6. Mohammad Nabi, 7. Najibullah Zadran, 8. Rashid Khan, 9. Aftab Alam/Wafadar, 10. Dawlat Zadran, 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Stats and Facts

  • The head-to-head record between the two sides is quite tight, with Ireland winning nine matches to eight, with two no-results.
  • Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman took 12 wickets between them in the recently completed T20I series.
  • The last time these two sides met in a bilateral contest, Ireland won the series 2-1 in alien conditions in Sharjah.

Prediction

Ireland will take heart of their good record against Afghanistan in ODIs, but the visitors have the momentum.
For that reason, I think Afghanistan will win and take a 1-0 series lead.

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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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