Irish Times – Afghanistan made it eight straight victories over Ireland in T20 Internationals with a five-wicket win in the first of three games in the northern Indian city of Dehradun on Thursday.
- In the first innings, an undefeated 67-run seventh-wicket stand between George Dockrell and Stuart Poynter propelled Ireland to 132 for six against a mighty Afghan spin arsenal led by the world’s highest-ranked T20I bowler, Rashid Khan, who tucked into two wickets in his first over.
- But it was the experienced all-rounder Mohammad Nabi who was the standout performer; after conceding just 16 runs from his four overs in the first innings, the 34-year-old hit an unbeaten 40-ball 49 and combined brilliantly with Najibullah Zadran to break Irish hearts – and Afghanistan’s record for the highest sixth-wicket partnership – in the second.
- All-rounder Dockrell (34 not out from 28 balls) and keeper-batsman Poynter (31 not out from 28) carried Ireland to a respectable 132 for six, with Afghanistan’s twirlers Mujeeb, Rashid and Nabi – who picked up 14 wickets between them in Dehradun in Afghanistan’s last series against Bangladesh – keeping a lid on the scoring rate.
- No boundaries were recorded between the fifth and 13th over, but when Ireland finally brought on a spinner to start an over, in Dockrell, Najibullah Zadran rocked back and cut for four before Nabi’s powerful pull in the 14th.
- SCORES (at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun, India): Ireland 132-6 (20 ovs) (G Dockrell 34no, S Poynter 31no; M Nabi 2-16, R Khan 2-21), Afghanistan 136-5 (19.