Ireland v Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad hits century as visitors level series

Shahzad
Mohammad Shahzad's century put Afghanistan on course for a big total at Stormont
Second one-day international, Belfast
Afghanistan 305-7 (50 overs): Shahzad 101, Rahmat 62; Adair 3-71
Ireland 179 (50 overs): Stirling 50, Balbirnie 34; Naib 6-43
Afghanistan win by 126 runs
Scorecard

Mohammad Shahzad struck an 87-ball century as Afghanistan beat Ireland by 126 runs to draw their two-game ODI series in Belfast.

Shahzad shared a 150-run second-wicket stand with Rahmat Shah (62) to help the visitors reach 305 in 50 overs.

The hosts never looked likely to threaten Afghanistan's total despite Paul Stirling's 55-ball half century.

Captain Gulbadin Naib took six wickets as Afghanistan made short work of Ireland's lower order.

After defeats by West Indies and Bangladesh in the recent tri-nations series, Ireland's bowling attack led them to an impressive win in the opening ODI on Sunday.

Mark Adair made an early breakthrough on Tuesday when Noor Ali Zadran picked out Boyd Rankin, bringing Shah to the crease.

The second-wicket stand was eventually ended by Andy McBrine in the 31st over but by then considerable damage had been done to Ireland's attack.

The bowlers were made to suffer further as Najibullah Zadran made the most of his side's already healthy total to pile on an additional 60 runs from 33 balls to bring Afghanistan's innings to an end.

Paul Stirling
Paul Stirling again top scored for Ireland with 50

Naib, who was named Afghanistan's one-day captain last month, took the crucial wicket of Stirling two overs after he had Andrew Balbirnie caught behind.

Only Gary Wilson (32) was able to offer any resistance as Afghanistan strolled towards victory before he too fell to the bowling of Naib, finding Rashid Khan at midwicket.

Ireland will now begin preparations for their three-match ODI series with Zimbabwe in July while Afghanistan get their World Cup campaign underway against Australia in 1 June.

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