Afg v Ire, ICC World T20 Qualifier, final, Abu Dhabi November 30, 2013

Rampant Ireland retain World T20 Qualifier title

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland 225 for 7 (Stirling 76, Johnston 62, Hotak 3-39) beat Afghanistan 157 (Naib 43, Johnston 3-34) by 68 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ireland successfully defended their World Twenty20 Qualifiers title with a comprehensive 68-run win over Afghanistan in the final in Abu Dhabi, thanks largely to blitzed fifties from Paul Stirling and Trent Johnston - in his final Twenty20 match - that propelled them to a mammoth 225.

Ireland, who have been in excellent form throughout the tournament, winning six of their seven group matches before thumping UAE in the semi-finals, were rampant from the get go. Electing to bat, Ireland began strongly as Stirling pulled Shapoor Zadran for four off the fourth ball of the innings and upper-cut the next delivery for six over third man.

Stirling received ample support at the other end from his captain William Porterfield, who also picked out the boundaries at regular intervals as the pair raced to 68 inside six overs. Ireland suffered their first casualty when Porterfield, having just hit Hamza Hotak through the covers for four, missed a cut and was bowled for a 14-ball 27.

That didn't slow Ireland down in the least though, as new batsman Kevin O'Brien pierced the offside with his first two deliveries for four, and lofted the third for six over the bowler's head. O'Brien departed for 20, but his 12-ball cameo had already taken Ireland over the 100-run mark in 8.3 overs.

Afghanistan would have hoped for a reprieve following the wicket, but Johnston, coming in at No. 4, continued the carnage, as he and Stirling slammed 64 off 32 deliveries. Stirling finally fell for 76 - caught by Mohammad Nabi off Hotak in the 15th over - having hit eight fours and four sixes, but Johnston added 44 more runs with Gary Wilson and John Mooney at a manic pace. Johnston was eventually bowled by Zadran for 62, but it was too little too late for Afghanistan, as Ireland had already amassed well over 200.

Set a daunting 226 to win - a record, if they achieved it - Afghanistan began spiritedly, as Mohammad Shahzad took 14 runs of Max Sorensen's first three balls. At the other end Nawroz Mangal hit 12 off Tim Murtagh's first 4, as he and Shahzad added 36 in 3.2 overs before Mangal was bowled by George Dockrell - like Afghanistan, Ireland too resorted to spin early on - for 14.

Afghanistan tried to maintain the high required-rate and did so for a while, but their progress was halted by wickets at regular intervals from Dockrell and Alex Cusack .Cusack claimed two wickets with the final two balls of the Powerplay to set Afghanistan's chase back quite a bit. Gulbadin Naib top-scored with 43, but received little support from the rest of the middle order as Johnston made a telling contribution with the ball as well by picking up the wickets of Naib, Samiullah Shenwari and Najibullah Zadran in quick succession - he too was on a hat-trick in one point in his spell - to all but wrap up the game.

Seamer Murtagh delivered the winning blow, yorking Shapoor Zadran to seal the title.

Despite the crushing defeat, Afghanistan can take comfort in the fact that their spot in the World Twenty20 2014 is well secured, along with Ireland, Nepal, UAE, Hong Kong and Netherlands. Afghanistan have been drawn with hosts Bangladesh, Nepal and Hong Kong in Group A for the first round of next year's showpiece event. Ireland are in Group B, with Zimbabwe, UAE and Netherlands.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2013, 2:08 GMT

    I watched the game and it was the worst display of bowling in 40 overs that I have ever seen.

  • Dummy4 on December 1, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    I thought the T20 format is supposedly the form where associates are able to compete with the big sides, so the ICC claim. Yet the T20 world cup only has 10 sides competing.

    I'm not going to say that Ireland will definitely qualify but we have a very strong chance. Still, the winner and second place should go through to the WC and make it 12 teams, ideally 14/16 teams should qualify.

    You could get three T20i's in a day easily. The ICC just want to protect the bigger sides, it really is a shame that more sides aren't allowed in.

    When do the underdogs get their go :/

  • Steve on December 1, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Trent Johnston's performance in his final match, now, that's what is called going out on high. I believe he might still be persuaded to make a comeback for the real T20 WC if replacements fail to deliver.

  • Raju on December 1, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Dear Chechong0114, You are telling that you have watched almost all games. But your comments are not supporting your claim. Wherever Nepal played and whenever played drew huge crowd. You better watch matches again to see the numbers of Nepali people supporting their team in Dubai, Abudhabi and Shajrah.

    Similarly to some extent the Afghans supported their team by their presence in the stadiums.

    But I agree your claim for the remaining matches which doesnt involve either Nepal or Afghanistan.

  • Dummy4 on December 1, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    If ICC does not give chances to Associate member to play with top tens team, it would be very difficult for them to improve their cricket.

  • Ruturaj on December 1, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    A perfect finish to Trent Johnston's T20 career! He has been the guiding light for Ireland in their quest for full membership of the ICC.

    Ireland have a crop of good young cricketers like Paul Striling, James Shannon and George Dockrell, alongwith experienced ones like Porterfield and the O'Briens. With a domestic first-class tournament in place, their future looks bright. I dare say Porterfield is a world-class player already.

    Now all that remains is to see Ireland play test cricket alongwith one of the full members. I do hope that day is not far away with Ireland giving such compelling reasons for full membership. I think Afghanistan will also eventually become a full member, but it will take some more years than Ireland and they need to have a first class tournament in place.

    As of now, there are no hopes of full membership for teams like Netherlands, UAE and Nepal.

  • Cricket Fan on December 1, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    Ireland can play only with Zimbabwe in Twenty20 WC, 2014 and if they win all game only can play with Top 8 teams. This is very bad format for Associates. Also I say Johnston never retire from Ireland . He can retire after 2015 WC. This is a request.

  • ESPN on December 1, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Hey Mr Fast_track_bul , Have you forgotten that SL is still the no 1 ranked T20 team?

  • Manesh on December 1, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    Funny to see some SL fans have such a fear over India. They know that India can beat them any day anywhere in any game.

  • Manesh on December 1, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    Declining teams like SL will be thrashed by Ireland and Afgan in the coming WT20. Oldies like them cannot defeat youngsters and even their fans know that.

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