Irish middle-order collapse sees Afghanistan win in Belfast

They lead the five-match series 1-0

Irish middle-order collapse sees Afghanistan win in Belfast

Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Presseye/Rowland White

Afghanistan drew first blood in Tuesday's second ODI as they posted a 39–run win over Ireland at Stormont, in Belfast.

After Sunday's wash-out, the rain stayed away to allow a full day’s play but not for the first time it was to be a lower order batting collapse that was to prove the home side’s undoing.

Chasing a competitive 250 Ireland were well in control as the new opening partnership of skipper William Porterfield (25) and Ed Joyce posted 71 for the first wicket and then Joyce and John Anderson took it to 114 for the second.

The Sussex man was finally caught by Mohammad Shahzad off the bowling of Mirwais Ashraf for 62 (6 fours) but his efforts looked to have teed things up nicely for the middle order.

Despite losing Stuart Poynter soon after, Anderson and Kevin O’Brien kept things ticking as Ireland moved to within 90 of the target with 7 wickets still in hand.

The impetus changed however when Rashid Khan did for both in quick succession- O’Brien with three sixes and a four in his 35 while Anderson contributed a more sedate 26. It was all downhill from there for the hosts however- just 51 runs added after that as Ireland were bowled out for 211.

Khan (3-28) was the pick of the visitors’ attack with Mohammad Nabi (3-45), Dawlat Zadran (2-29) and Ashraf (2-40) completing the formalities.

Earlier in the day it was opener Shahzad and Najbullah Zadran who fared best of the Afghan batsmen- Shahzad with eight fours and a maximum in his 66 while Zadran hit six fours and two sixes on his way to 59.

O’Brien with 4-45 and Barry McCarthy who impressed again in taking 4-59 were the most successful of the Irish bowlers but considering he went to the fence in the first two deliveries of the match, Tim Murtagh (0-28 from 8) was also solid throughout.

The teams will meet again on Thursday as Ireland bid to level things up with two more to play after that.

Afghanistan 250 all out (49.2 overs; M Shahzad 66, N Zadran 59, J Ahmadi 29, S Shinwari 24, K O’Brien 4-45, B McCarthy 4-59)

Ireland 211 all out (48.2 overs, E Joyce 62, K O’Brien 35, J Anderson 26, W Porterfield 25, R Khan 3-28, M Nabi 3-45, D Zadran 2-29, M Ashraf 2-40)