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February 1, 2010
Ireland 124 for 5 (Porterfield 46) beat Afghanistan 121 for 9 (Ahmadzai 33*, Johnston 4-22) by five wickets
Ireland weathered a strong fightback from Afghanistan to claim their first win of the Associates Twenty20 Series at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. William Porterfield's boundary-laden 46 powered Ireland's reply to a sub-par 121 for 9 from Afghanistan before a brief middle-order collapse reduced Ireland from 91 for 2 to 98 for 5 in the space of 12 balls.
Calm innings from John Mooney and Gary Wilson ensured the win, and with it a small measure of revenge after Afghanistan's defeat of the Irish in the Intercontinental Cup a week ago and at the World Cup qualifiers last year.
Earlier, Afghanistan struggled to replicate the pyrotechnics of yesterday's game against Canada. Karim Sadiq, who top-scored with 69 in that game, was dismissed for single figures today, edging Trent Johnston through to Niall O'Brien. Johnston also accounted for Mohammad Shahzad before cutting short Shafiqullah's threatening cameo and snaring Asghar Stanikzai for his fourth wicket.
George Dockrell, the young left-arm spinner, showed just why he is so highly rated in Irish cricket circles, taking 2 for 11 in a superb display of control and variety. Andre Botha's accurate medium pace proved too much for Afghanistan's tail, and had it not been for Raees Ahmadzai's unbeaten 33, the Afghans may not have even reached 100.
After a strong start to their reply courtesy of O'Brien and Porterfield, Ireland's chase stalled somewhat in the middle overs. Hameed Hasan and Sadiq slowed the flow of runs, sparking a nervous flutter in the middle order before Mooney and Wilson's unbeaten 26-run partnership saw Ireland home.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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