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That is it from the first T20I. Afghanistan should have won and Afghanistan have won. But not without huffing and puffing. Some poor shot selection almost cost them the match, something they would be wanting to get rid of, before the second game. Ireland, well, they just need to play spin better. How can they achieve it is something debatable but they have to find an answer somehow. They do not have too much time to do it, for the second T20I is not far off - scheduled on Saturday, February 23, at 6.30 pm local (1300 GMT). Join us then. ADIOS! TAKE CARE!
Asghar Afghan says that the first game of a series is very important and is extremely happy to be 1-0 up. Admits that the top order played some poor shots and credits the middle order for stepping up as the last time, the middle order had a lot of pressure. On the squad, Afghan says that he would like to win the series first and then give opportunities to the rest of the players.
Mohammad Nabi has been named the Man Of The Match. Says that as a batting side, Afghanistan were under pressure at 50/5 but he just focussed on playing normal cricket, taking singles, score 4-5 runs per over and take it till the end. Admits that sometimes the arm ball works on this type of a pitch.
Paul Stirling feels that they did not have a good score on the board. Though, he feels that at the halfway mark, they had a slight chance. Praises Afghanistan for fighting hard. Laments the loss of Stuart Thompson in the middle of the chase but does not look too seriously into the injury. Informs that an assessment will be taken on Friday morning.
Earlier in the match, Ireland opted to bat on what seemed like a flat track but did not counter the dew. In any which ways, they needed a minimum of 160-170 to stand a chance but they had no answer to the guile of Nabi, the spin of Rashid or the cunningness of Mujeeb. It is like answering Maths, Social Studies and Language on the same day of your board exam. All the best then. Please stay tuned for the presentation...
they thought they were in the game but in reality, they weren't. They were just given some false hope. With the pitch not offering much and plenty of dew around, defending modest totals was always going to be difficult and so good is this Afghan batting line-up that they bat at least till number 10. Shane Getkate tried his best and so did Little but there was little that even the two combined could do.
Nabi and Zadran just illustrated that T20 is not about just boundary-hitting. They came together in the 8th over and did not score a single boundary till the 13th over. After settling down, they played their strokes, which is ideally the way the top order should have played too. As they say, experience cannot be bought or sold.
Comfortable win for the 'hosts.' We can go all ga-ga about the calmness instilled by Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran but to be honest, it was nothing but shoddy batting from the top order. Just throwing their wickets away and giving Ireland a hope of winning this.
19.2PChase to MNabi
HIGH, HIGH, HIGH BUT NOT A SIX! Nabi does not get a 50 but AFGHANISTAN WIN. Full and outside off, Nabi backs away and goes for the glory shot, being on 45, targetting the long off boundary. He skies this miles in the air but unfortunately for him, the ball just lands inside the ropes! Stranded on 49 but a victory for his side.
19.1PChase to MNabi
That ball has taken the inside edge onto the pads.
Last over. 1 needed. Chase to bowl.
18.6BRankin to MNabi
The batsman gets an inside edge on that which goes fine down the leg side. The batsmen have run through for a single.
18.5BRankin to MNabi
The batsman tries to pull that one but failed to connect it.
18.4BRankin to MNabi
SIX! That is so sweet! Full and outside off, Nabi backs away and drives this without any effort way over extra cover!
18.3BRankin to MNabi
PARTNER-KILLER! Oh dear... you wouldn't want to do that, would you? Full and around middle, Nabi backs away and throws the kitchen sink at this. Hits this hard down the ground but Najibullah comes in his way. Is hit flush on the arm. The batsman deflects it off and smiles. The umpire smiles too because had Zadran not come in the way, the ball would have hit the umpire instead.
18.2BRankin to MNabi
Full and around off, Nabi looks to defend but the ball squirts off the inside edge to short fine leg.
18.1BRankin to NZadran
Works it down the leg side for a single.
17.6JLittle to MNabi
Defended off the back foot by the batsman.
17.5JLittle to NZadran
Bounced short, pulled through mid-wicket for a run.
17.4JLittle to MNabi
Driven through mid off by the batsman. One run added to the total.
17.3JLittle to NZadran
Another leading edge, lands safely again. Single taken off the flick.
17.2JLittle to NZadran
FOUR! My dad always says that fighting scenes in old Bollywood movies towards the climax are kind of free for all. Just now, remembered that saying. With the match about to come to a close, both the batsmen are going for broke. A length ball, around middle, cleanly swung over mid-wicket for a boundary.
17.1JLittle to NZadran
Outside off, a swing and a miss.
16.6BRankin to MNabi
TOP EDGE, SAFE AGAIN! A full ball, around middle, MN gets across to flick but plays all around it, due to the late outswing. The ball goes off the leading edge towards third man where two fielders make a total mess of it. Or almost. Two runs taken. 10 from this one, 25 from the last 2.
16.5BRankin to MNabi
A short ball, around off, Nabi looks to pull but misses and is hit on the arm.
16.4BRankin to MNabi
Full and outside off, driven straight to mid off.
16.3BRankin to MNabi
FOUR! Oh yes... this is surely catapulting now. Full and on middle, Nabi backs away and bang. Hammers it down the ground and beats a poor diving long on.
16.2BRankin to MNabi
Played through mid-wicket by the batsman. The batsmen have picked up a couple of runs.
16.1BRankin to MNabi
TOP EDGE, SAFE! Full and outside off, Nabi swings hard but gets a top edge. Luckily for him, it lands safely, wide of deep backward point. Two runs taken.
15.6JLittle to NZadran
SIX! Over the ropes! Ha ha ha... going in for a quick finish? A short ball, around middle, Najibullah swivels and pulls it over deep backward square leg! 15 from the over and I daresay, it is game over for Ireland. 26 needed from the final 4.
15.5JLittle to NZadran
The batsman shows the full face of the bat and defends the ball off the back foot.
15.4JLittle to NZadran
Looks for another swing but is beaten by the lack of bounce. The ball does not carry to the keeper.
15.3JLittle to NZadran
FOUR! Swung and swung hard! A length ball, around off, Zadran swings it wide of mid-wicket and beats the fielder in the deep! 50-RUN STAND COMES UP AS WELL! 100 is up for Afghanistan too. 32 needed from 27 now. Surely coasting...
15.2JLittle to MNabi
Outside off, driven through mid off for a single.
15.1JLittle to MNabi
FOUR! Welcome back into the attack! Full and outside off, Nabi drives this beautifully, wide of mid off and gets a boundary!
Joshua Little is back on. 2-0-6-1 so far.
14.6PChase to MNabi
Works it with soft hands wide of long on and crosses over. 8 runs from the over without any risk.
14.5PChase to MNabi
Full and outside off, eased through the covers for a brace. The stand moves to 41 from 45 balls. Nabi moves to 21 from 222.
14.4PChase to NZadran
Dropped short, pulled to deep mid-wicket for a single.
14.3PChase to NZadran
Works this down the leg side for a couple.
14.2PChase to MNabi
A lovely delivery, coming in with the angle from outside off, Nabi misses his flick and is hit on the pads. Chase screams his lungs out in an LBW appeal but there seemed to be two sounds there. The umpire does not give any signal when the batsmen take a single. He too thinks that there was wood.
14.1PChase to NZadran
That has hit him on the knee. Around leg stump, Zadran misses his tuck and the ball goes past the pad and hits him on the inner half of the knee. Deflects towards square leg and the batsmen cross over. Actually he limps across to the other end.
Peter Chase is back into the attack.
13.6SGetkate to NZadran
Another cutter, played with a loose bottom hand towards long on for a run. That is not a bad comeback at all from Getkate - 6 from the first 3, just 1 from the next 3. He finishes with figures of 4-0-21-1. 49 more needed from 36 balls. Najibullah moves to 20 from 24 balls.
13.5SGetkate to NZadran
Slower ball, around off, Najibullah is earlier into his punch and mistimes it back to the bowler.