Ireland miss chance to secure tri-series as Afghans win in Dubai

Najibullah Zadran
Najibullah Zadran hit 83 from only 59 balls in Dubai
One-day tri-series, Dubai (International Cricket Stadium):
Afghanistan 246-8 (50 overs) beat Ireland 175 (43.3 overs) by 71 runs
Match scorecard

Ireland missed their first chance to secure the tri-series in Dubai as they lost to Afghanistan by 71 runs.

Najibullah Zadran's 83 and Samiullah Shenwari's 50 helped Afghanistan post 246-8 from their 50 overs.

In reply, William Porterfield and Paul Stirling put on 40 for the first wicket but Ireland collapsed to 175 all out after 43.3 overs.

Ireland will still secure the tri-series if they defeat Scotland on Monday.

But a Scotland victory will see them take the series by virtue of a better run-rate.

The Irish earned narrow three-wicket wins over Afghanistan and Scotland in their opening two games in the tournament.

On Saturday, they opted to bowl first after winning the toss but while Craig Young took two early wickets, the Afghans were scoring at a healthy rate.

Tight bowling from Alex Cusack, Kevin O'Brien and George Dockrell did slow the Afghan run-rate although Asghar Stanikzai was still able to move to 44 with Shenwari completing his patient half-century from 133 balls.

Shenwari was then trapped by Dockrell to leave the Afghans on 166-5 but Zadran produced some late big hitting to help push his side towards a very competitive total.

The chase got off to a positive start for Ireland with Stirling hitting 36 from just 24 balls but both the Middlesex player captain Porterfield fell in quick succession to leave Ireland 49-2.

Ed Joyce (21), Niall O'Brien (33), Gary Wilson (20) and Kevin O'Brien (21) all failed to build on promising starts and, unlike the two earlier matches in the tournament, the lower order did not come to Ireland's rescue.