Balbirnie hopes win over Netherlands can spur Eire to problem Afghanistan

11:08 AM ET

Peter Della PennaCricket

ClosePeter Della Penna is an American cricket journalist who additionally writes for and Since 2010, he has penned the USA entry within the Cricket Around the World part of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.
Comply with Peter on Twitter @PeterDellaPenna

Coming into final week’s Oman T20I Quadrangular sequence, Eire had been winless of their earlier 5 T20Is and had additionally misplaced 5 straight T20Is to the Netherlands. It took a last-ball six by Stuart Poynter in an exhilarating one-wicket win to interrupt the latter streak and batsman Andy Balbirnie is hoping Eire can use that as a turning level to interrupt one other prolonged dropping streak in opposition to Afghanistan.

“We might have appreciated it a bit simpler than it was however whenever you’re a staff that have not gained lots of video games not too long ago in T20 cricket, simply to recover from the road anyway is an enormous aid, significantly going into an enormous sequence in opposition to Afghanistan who’re one of many high T20 groups,” Balbirnie informed ESPNcricinfo forward of the T20I sequence opener.

The 2 sides play the primary of three matches in Dehradun on Thursday earlier than subsequent video games on Saturday and Sunday. Balbirnie says Eire confirmed nice resilience in opposition to the Dutch, who had been 116 for zero within the 10th over earlier than being held to 182. The win helped Eire transfer up one spot within the ICC’s T20I rankings to 17th and for Balbirnie, who top-scored with a career-best 83 off 50 balls, the battle they confirmed is proof that they’ve turned a nook in T20s after current struggles.

“If we play good cricket and compete like we did [against Netherlands] within the subject once we had been staring down the barrel, we should always come out with some good outcomes,” Balbirnie mentioned. “So long as we’re enjoying good and we’re preventing within the subject, we ought to be okay.”

Balbirnie is properly conscious of the current historical past between the 2 sides although, with Eire having misplaced seven straight T20Is to Afghanistan. The final time Eire beat Afghanistan was within the remaining of the 2013 T20 World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi when the facet posted an Eire file whole of 225 for 7 in a 68-run win.

Solely three Eire gamers stay from the final beginning XI that beat Afghanistan: Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien and George Dockrell. In the meantime, Afghanistan’s reversal of fortunes has coincided with the emergence of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, a twin risk that Balbirnie is keenly conscious of.

“We all know what risk Rashid and Mujeeb have and other people like [Mohammad] Shahzad of their squad,” Balbirnie mentioned. “So there’s lots of threats all around the park.

“We have not been enjoying nice T20 cricket so to enter a sequence like Afghanistan who’ve world class gamers of their facet which can be enjoying franchise cricket at each franchise alternative, enjoying of their yard is gonna be an enormous ask. In T20 cricket there is no denying that we’re huge underdogs in opposition to them however I believe we have a little bit of freedom in our squad for the time being. We have got some gamers that may come out and in and do a job. I believe we’re gonna take pleasure in it.”

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