Eire 219 for five (Stirling 70, Balbirnie 68, Mujeeb 1-26) beat Afghanistan 216 for six (Asghar 82, Nabi 40, Dockrell 2-46) by 5 wickets
Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie made very good half-centuries to drive Eire to a five-wicket win within the fifth and closing ODI in opposition to Afghanistan, a consequence that ensured the collection was shared 2-2 with one match having been washed out.
Eire had crumbled for 114 within the fourth match after Afghanistan had made 223, so when the Afghans ended up with 216 for six after being put in to bat, the visiting workforce knew it must present much more software and nous than it had within the final recreation. Stirling and Balbirnie delivered that in type. Stirling (70 off 88) helmed the primary half of the chase and Balbirnie (68 off 91) took over for the second half. Stirling, the truth is, had seemed good for lots extra till an umpiring error lower his keep brief. Caught in his crease to a Rashid Khan leg-break, Stirling was struck on the pads, however outdoors the road of off-stump with the flip taking the ball additional away when Rashid’s enchantment for leg earlier than was upheld.
That broke an 81-run stand for the second wicket, and although Eire have been favourably positioned at 138 for two, there was the potential of Afghanistan’s trio of spinners operating by way of the facet. Balbirnie stood agency although, and although he was bowled by Mujeeb Ur Rahman with the goal ten runs away, by then he had finished sufficient. Even a mini-wobble – Eire went from 207 for three to 215 for five – did not have an effect on the ultimate consequence.
The characteristic of Stirling and Balbirnie’s batting was how nicely they negotiated Afghanistan’s spinners. Whereas Rashid and Mujeeb each posed questions and bowled their share of unplayable deliveries, a mixture of hawk-eyed watching the ball and judiciously utilizing their toes, and the sweep shot meant each batsmen have been secure even after they erred. Rashid, the truth is, ended with simply 5 wickets within the collection – the fewest he has ever acquired in a collection of three or extra matches. Debutant left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan was good in patches, however strayed in line and size too usually and was taken for runs.
Earlier, Afghanistan’s complete was constructed on Asghar Afghan’s 82 off 111, earlier than he retired damage halfway by way of the 50th over, limping off clutching his hamstring. Asghar had begun slowly – he was on eight off 43 at one level – however he hung in and began to open out extra within the latter a part of his keep. He had damage his left shoulder within the fourth ODI and was visibly in ache whereas batting, usually holding his shoulder after trying any shot that required energy on the legside, however he soldiered by way of.
Tight bowling by Eire had lowered Afghanistan to 50 for four within the 15th over when Asghar was joined by Mohammad Nabi. The 2 stabilised, after which revived Afghanistan with a 76-run stand. In the direction of the tip, some clear hitting by Rashid (35* off 28) ensured Afghanistan would comfortably cross the 200-run mark.
On the midway stage, with the ball already taking sharp flip, Afghanistan might need thought that was sufficient. However that they had reckoned with out Stirling and Balbirnie’s software and ability.