Player of the Match
Player of the Match

A five-wicket win for Afghanistan then. They play their second ODI against Ireland in a couple of days' time. Join us then, for the moment, signing off on behalf of scorer Thilak Ram and my co-commentator Hemant Brar, this is Debayan Sen. Enjoy the game with ESPNcricinfo!

Asghar Afghan: "The first game is always important. Sometimes the wicket is like that, and that's why we had to play carefully. Mohammad Shahzad played really well."

Gulbadin Naib is the man of the match. Tells the broadcasters: "It's not easy to play on this kind of team, and then to perform and get the man of the match award. Wicket is changed, it is low and you cannot take most different deliveries. I planned to bowl slower ones and change the pace, and keep a tight line."

William Porterfield: "I think if we had (picked wickets) in the first 5-6 overs, we would have given ourselves a chance. It was a tough wicket, there was no way to hit the ball fluently. 220-230 would have been a good chase. I don' t think it played slower than expected. We just left ourselves short with the bat. With such tight schedules, it's more mental. I don't think the pitch will be too much different."

"My Crystal Ball is over the moon, to say the least. It's jumping around. "Is it because they did manage to chase this target down without major stutters like I smelled and now I'm up 1-0 with ABJ?" I ask. "Well I have done an Afridi and won't comment on International Affairs", it says. "I'm just happy for Afghanistan! Go on, lads, and conquer the world!'" muses Abhijato

7.57pm The result was scarcely in doubt, especially after the way Afghanistan bowled once William Porterfield won the toss and elected to bat. Barring Stirling, the rest of them were blown away by the control and variations of a good Afghan unit, on a pretty tricky wicket. 161 was always going to be difficult to defend, but Ireland made a good fist of it. They kept picking wickets at regular intervals, but two scratchy but effective hands from Mohammad Shahzad and Gulbadin Naib have seen Afghanistan through

Dockrell to Najibullah Zadran, SIX runs, full, and he tonks this over midwicket. Victory for Afghanistan, and with an emphatic slog sweep by the birthday boy!
Dockrell to Najibullah Zadran, SIX runs, length, and he has biffed this straight down the ground, over long on! What a start!

Najibullah Zadran, who also turns 26 today, comes out to bat

Dockrell to Gulbadin Naib, OUT, there won't be a fifty for Naib! Tossed up, and pitched on leg stump, and Naib was looking to just work it towards midwicket. Got the leading edge and floated back towards Dockrell, who clings on gleefully. An effective knock from Naib comes to an end, with the final acceleration probably doing enough to seal this deal for Afghanistan

Gulbadin Naib c & b Dockrell 46 (61b 6x4 1x6) SR: 75.40

Rankin to Gulbadin Naib, FOUR runs, full toss, and he has tickled it down to fine leg. It could also be called a no-ball, because it was definitely a full toss above waist height. Not called a no-ball, though!
Rankin to Gulbadin Naib, SIX runs, he's connected with this! Just a bit full in length, at the stumps, but he steps away and then just hammers it down towards midwicket. Elevation, distance, and timing....this had the complete package!
Rankin to Gulbadin Naib, no run, a chance goes begging! It was short, and he whipped it away cross-batted, towards midwicket. Dockrell got the ball in his fingers, but couldn't hold on
Rankin to Gulbadin Naib, FOUR runs, in the slot, just outside off, and he whacks it towards long on. Great shot, as Naib begins to hit his stride in the last 3-4 overs

Ireland were 102/6 at this stage

Rankin to Gulbadin Naib, FOUR runs, length ball, and Naib fetches it from outside off and biffs it away just in front of square on the on side. Top shot!
McCarthy to Gulbadin Naib, FOUR runs, fuller again, and he whips it away towards midwicket yet again. An action replay of the previous two boundaries almost!
McCarthy to Gulbadin Naib, FOUR runs, length, and he goes towards midwicket again. The length has just been a bit full, and Naib is taking full toll, and easing the pressure off his team...

Afghanistan 2nd innings Partnerships

1st43Mohammad ShahzadHazratullah Zazai
2nd47Mohammad ShahzadRahmat Shah
3rd2Hashmatullah ShahidiRahmat Shah
4th12Gulbadin NaibHashmatullah Shahidi
5th49Asghar AfghanGulbadin Naib
6th12Asghar AfghanNajibullah Zadran