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

Rampant Ireland retain World T20 Qualifier title

ESPNcricinfo staff
35

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

  • 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.

  • 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 :/

  • CricketChat 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-KC 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.

  • 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.

  • Fan_of_test_cricket 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.

  • cricket2011 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.

  • 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?

  • Fast_Track_Bully 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.

  • Fast_Track_Bully 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 :/

  • CricketChat 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-KC 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.

  • 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.

  • Fan_of_test_cricket 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.

  • cricket2011 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.

  • 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?

  • Fast_Track_Bully 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.

  • Fast_Track_Bully 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.

  • asikbadhon on December 1, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    I watched the last match and saw that there is no variation and line length in Afg bowlers,they have to work hard to improve their bowling.Ire bowling was better,but to do well in Bd ,they will need good spinners.Everybody is saying that Ire will crush Zim,but I don't think so.Zim bowler are far better than Afg .There will be slower,yorker and good spinning attack with utseya and cremer and they have batsman like taylor,masakadza,chigumbura etc who can change the game single handly.To beat Bd in Bd , Afg need super luck.

  • Mohammad_Yasa on December 1, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Afghanistan did better in the tournament, but Hamid Hassan's presence is very very necessary in Afghan Squad. We saw in this match that the bowler didn't pitch the bowl at the right areas and were struck for fours and sixes around. I hope he will be ok and fit for next match with Pakistan. I would like Nabi to determine everyone's place in the team and get the most out of them. Hope we beat Bangladesh, Nepal and Hong Kong to reach the big stage.

  • Bladerunners on December 1, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    All the six teams deserve the place in main event.but unfortunately icc does not see it that way.they want to protect teams like ind ,nz ,eng . They know that these teams could beat one of these teams.thats why they created a really dissapointing format

  • chechong0114 on December 1, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    As a cricket loving person it was really sad to see how empty the stadiums were for these qualifier matches. Even the game that was played involving the host UAE could not even bring in 100 people to the stadium on game day. I watched almost all the games that were played and I must admit i was left with soooo many questions. I guess the biggest one is does this trend of empty seats that continues to plague the sport bother the ICC at all. If i was the president of the ICC i would be working tirelessly to destroy this curse because it has and continues to plague the sport for too long and it needs to stop. The ICC must focus all its attention on this issue and begin to invest more of its time and resources to generating more fan interest in the sport throughout the cricket world.

  • SriLankanYoungBlood on December 1, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    this match is real example 2 conservative teams like SL who is still going on 3 old oddies. i invite SLfans to see this match.but one of their local television should telecast these matches.then they can understand d bitter truth. but even these guys will told Sanga,Dil,Mahi r best T20 playes in d world. if SL played T20 with UAE with this 2 teams they differently defeat .But No Kusal Perera,No Thisara Perea,No Rabukwalla. congrats to IRE,AFG.we can c tough contest with BD in 1st Round

  • on December 1, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    Afghanistan also batted well but we lost the wickets in regular intervals, that we lose that match. The main problem with our players is that they do not learn from their mistakes.

  • on December 1, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Agree with SyedAreYouDumb....this tournament's format is flawed. What's so harmful about the regular members getting to play a game or 2 against Afg or Ireland?

  • on December 1, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    Great job ireland.Well dine Johnston,sad to see u retire before the main event.Best of luck ireland.You have got an easy group.Don't miss the chance.

  • CrICkeeet on December 1, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    I'm feeling sorry for these teams. Silly format is killing their dream. They played a qualifing round but still they'v 2 qualify again... (dont call it 1st round) isnt it better for cricket globalization 2 start the wc with 16 teams... Its just T20 matches, so nothing too harmful for BUSINESS if teams lyk AUS, SA, ENG, IND play 1-2 t20 matches in the group level with these NEP, HNG, IRE, AFG, UAE, NED.... Dont knw who r ICC's think tank...

  • MeijiMura on December 1, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    It was no surprise to see Ireland win the tournament so convincingly. They have long been the best of the current crop of associates not yet given Test status. It was also great to see Afghanistan playing in the final against them. Afghanistan have some great talent and a really well balanced side with opening bowlers that bowl with serious pace, some good spinners and some good, hard-hitting and big-hitting batsmen. Both Ireland and Afghanistan were below full-strength due to injuries but yet both teams finished head and shoulders above every other team in the tournament. I would be very worried if I was Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. There is no question that Ireland out-bat, out-bowl and out-field Zimbabwe and they will win that contest. In fact I can see Holland causing Zimbabwe problems too. Zimbabwe might finish third in their group! As for Bangladesh they should overcome Nepal and Hong Kong, but Afghanistan have a huge chance of beating them. I'm looking forward to March!

  • on November 30, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    As an Afghan cricket fan I have to say i really enjoyed the game between Ireland and Afg because they both performed well with the bath, eve though Afghanistan bowlers were a little naive about their bowling what I mean is that they didn't adjusted themselves with the pitch, anyhow, Ireland was a better side and they deserved the win. cheers from Canada. And thanks ESPNCRICINFO.

  • Warm_Coffee on November 30, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    Too many dreamers we have. Maybe Ireland has a slight chance but its for sure going to be Bangladesh and Zimbabwe that will pull through. Last 3 T20 matches, Ireland lost to Bangladesh and last 4 ODI matches again the lost all to Bangladesh. Zimbabwe players have and are already played/playing in BPL and DPL in the host country and getting that head start Ireland and and the rest are lacking. Bangladesh will simply crush their group opponents with the players they have but good luck!

  • on November 30, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    What a marvellous tournament. Cricinfo, you deserve 95% praise for your informative, enjoyable, and almsot comprehensive coverage. The ICC, fairly criticised for insufficient support for deepening and broadening the game, have done a great job with this well-managed and creatively designed qualification event.

    Shall we ever forget now that sometimes a margin of 14 ten-thousandths of a point on net run rate makes all the difference?

  • on November 30, 2013, 21:52 GMT

    The constant refrain was that Group A was MUCH weaker than Group B. Now that the dust is settled, lets see what the results show. The six qualifying places split 3-3. Remember that only the group winners were guaranteed a place. The rest came from the playoffs which started with cross-group matches. Then lets take a look at the final standings. The champion came from Group A while 2nd and 3rd places were won by teams from Group B, with a Group A team taking 4th. If we add the placing of each team, then Group B did come out ahead 66-68. That represents the difference of just one placing. The verdict? Group B was slightly stronger than Group A, but definitely not MUCH stronger. That is why they play the game on the pitch, not on paper

  • on November 30, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    382 runs scored in 38 overs. Not taking anything away from Ireland, but this pitch served Ireland better, taking away Afg's strength which is their bowling. And yes, totally agree with Jonah58. The Big 8 have every reason to be scared off these two teams, and hence the retarded format for the T20 WC I would be very surprised if Ire doesn't hey through ahead of Zim. On Afg vs Bang it's a little different, coz Bang have improved a lot in the past year and proved they're up there with the top teams. Also, playing at home will be an added advantage.

  • on November 30, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    Iereland have suffered a big blow by losing trent johnston. He was Ireland's best all-rounder and was vital for the t20 squad. They might have had a chance to qualify for the semi-finals in the t20 world cup if johnston did not go out. Having said that, Johnston had a good farewell with a brutal performance this game.

  • SyedAreYouDumb on November 30, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Absolute brillance by these 2 teams! Also has been a wonderful tournament and shows how cricket should not focus on top 10! Also will be interesting to see what happens in the first round of the worldcup. I think the 2 teams that will qualify for the second round/ the super 10 stage will be Bangladesh and Ireland/Zimbabwe. Unfortunately I dont see Afghanistan beating Bangladesh in Bangladesh. In my opinion this format of the 2014 worldcup is flawed...

  • Batmanindallas on November 30, 2013, 21:14 GMT

    I wish both of these guys Afganistan and Ireland qualify for the main draw. It is time ICC stops protecting the lower teams and keep it an elite club.

  • on November 30, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    it was really fantastic match....congrats to Ireland be a champion.but I really wanted to Ireland in bd group .... all the best from bd

  • on November 30, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    congratulations Ireland. you deserve it. best side outside test arena. And no. 11 test side.

  • irishmancricfan on November 30, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    Great game today from both teams. Was more entertaining than the sa v pak game

  • on November 30, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    @ Blade-Runner on (November 30, 2013, 19:41 GMT), IRE is grouped with Zim. I would have loved to see IRE and BD in the same group as it would gave BD a opportunity to prove a point. Hope IRE get a good lesson to Zim though.

  • ThatsJustCricket on November 30, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    I, for one, would be happy to see the Irish or the Afghans pushing out BD or Zim.

  • Blade-Runner on November 30, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    I'm pretty sure that either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe is gonna get their WT20 dream shattered by Ireland. They are so good at this format of the game and have got a pretty experienced squad. They truly deserve a better recognition from the other ICC members.

  • Jonah58 on November 30, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    A terrific match that once again underlines the gulf between these 2 sides and the rest of the associates. 382 runs in the match and some terrific batting from both sides! On balance I think the best side won on the day but Afghanistan's contribution to the spectacle cannot and should not be underrated. Now lets both go to Bangladesh and win through this further pre-tournament tournament. On todays showing it is very easy to see just why the 'Big 8' fear both of these teams in this format.

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  • Jonah58 on November 30, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    A terrific match that once again underlines the gulf between these 2 sides and the rest of the associates. 382 runs in the match and some terrific batting from both sides! On balance I think the best side won on the day but Afghanistan's contribution to the spectacle cannot and should not be underrated. Now lets both go to Bangladesh and win through this further pre-tournament tournament. On todays showing it is very easy to see just why the 'Big 8' fear both of these teams in this format.

  • Blade-Runner on November 30, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    I'm pretty sure that either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe is gonna get their WT20 dream shattered by Ireland. They are so good at this format of the game and have got a pretty experienced squad. They truly deserve a better recognition from the other ICC members.

  • ThatsJustCricket on November 30, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    I, for one, would be happy to see the Irish or the Afghans pushing out BD or Zim.

  • on November 30, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    @ Blade-Runner on (November 30, 2013, 19:41 GMT), IRE is grouped with Zim. I would have loved to see IRE and BD in the same group as it would gave BD a opportunity to prove a point. Hope IRE get a good lesson to Zim though.

  • irishmancricfan on November 30, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    Great game today from both teams. Was more entertaining than the sa v pak game

  • on November 30, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    congratulations Ireland. you deserve it. best side outside test arena. And no. 11 test side.

  • on November 30, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    it was really fantastic match....congrats to Ireland be a champion.but I really wanted to Ireland in bd group .... all the best from bd

  • Batmanindallas on November 30, 2013, 21:14 GMT

    I wish both of these guys Afganistan and Ireland qualify for the main draw. It is time ICC stops protecting the lower teams and keep it an elite club.

  • SyedAreYouDumb on November 30, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    Absolute brillance by these 2 teams! Also has been a wonderful tournament and shows how cricket should not focus on top 10! Also will be interesting to see what happens in the first round of the worldcup. I think the 2 teams that will qualify for the second round/ the super 10 stage will be Bangladesh and Ireland/Zimbabwe. Unfortunately I dont see Afghanistan beating Bangladesh in Bangladesh. In my opinion this format of the 2014 worldcup is flawed...

  • on November 30, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    Iereland have suffered a big blow by losing trent johnston. He was Ireland's best all-rounder and was vital for the t20 squad. They might have had a chance to qualify for the semi-finals in the t20 world cup if johnston did not go out. Having said that, Johnston had a good farewell with a brutal performance this game.