<
>

Ireland clinch thrilling consolatory win against Afghanistan

Ireland 225 for 8 (Tector 36, Ahmad 3-32, Wafadar 3-50) beat Afghanistan 221 (Bahir 34, Stanikzai 33, Tector 3-37) by four runs

Ireland clinched their first win of the tournament but in their last attempt of the group stage, when they beat Afghanistan by only four runs in Whangarei. Afghanistan needed 10 runs from the last two overs and only seven from the last but they had only two wickets in hand and were bowled out with four balls to spare. Max Neville started the last over with a no-ball and wide to reduce the equation to five required from six but he removed the last wicket of Qais Ahmad to steal a thrilling win.

Chasing 226, Afghanistan could not get any big partnerships going. After losing two wickets for 47 runs by the 11th over, No. 3 Bahir Shah top-scored with 34 and took them close to 100 but handed a return catch to Varun Chopra. Offspinner Harry Tector troubled their middle order with the next three strikes, including the wicket of Tariq Stanikzai (33 off 24) that left Afghanistan on 155 for 6. Captain Naveen-ul-Haq scored 25 off 35 to rally the tail but his was the eighth wicket to fall, at 196. Afghanistan needed 30 from the last seven overs and the pair of Ahmad and Mujeeb took them close but could not finish things off.

Earlier, Ireland were troubled by the duo of Wafadar and Ahmad as both took three-wicket hauls. Ireland started slow and were 69 for 2 before Ahmad's legbreaks accounted for the next three wickets, including opener Jamie Grassi (32), Sam Murphy (2) and Neil Rock (35). Tector, the captain, scored a patient 36 before Wafadar sent the next three batsmen back to leave Ireland on 202 for 8. An unbeaten and quickfire 37 off 24 from Graham Kennedy led Ireland to 225 for 8, proving just about enough in the end.