Wednesday 11 December 2013 

Ireland Take Control On Day Two Of Final

Trent Johnston bowling
Trent Johnston finished with two for 50 and bowled brilliantly on day two
© International Cricket Council
 
Ed Joyce defends
Ed Joyce scored a half-century to help Ireland build a lead over Afghanistan
© International Cricket Council
 

Ireland 187 & 159-2 (Joyce 74no, O'Brien 40no) v
Afghanistan 182 (Mooney 5-45)
ICC Intercontinental Cup Final, Dubai, day two

Ireland enjoyed an outstanding second day of the ICC Intercontinental Cup final against Afghanistan in Dubai, closing 164 runs ahead with eight second innings wickets in hand.

Resuming on 81 for three, Afghanistan started well before John Mooney's five for 45 gave Ireland a lead on first innings when Afghanistan were bowled out for 182.

Ireland then began building a commanding lead by closing the day on 159 for two with Ed Joyce unbeaten on 74.

Rahmat Shah (20) and Asghar Stanikzai (41) battled hard in the morning session against excellent bowling from Mooney and Trent Johnston before their innings began to fall away.

Shah chopped Mooney to Kevin O'Brien at slip and Stanikzai was caught by Niall O'Brien off George Dockrell as Ireland launched a stirring fightback.

Mohammad Nabi did his best to hold the inings together with 42 in 86 balls but he fell to a poor shot to be caught by Joyce off Johnson and Afghanistan lost their last four wickets for seven runs.

Afsar Zazai (2) and Dawlat Zadran (0) were stumped off Dockrell, Johnson also removed Mirwais Ashraf for 14 to finish with two for 50 and Mooney had Samiullah Shenwari caught by Andrew White for five.

Ireland, through Paul Stirling and William Porterfield then came out of the blocks quickly and put the pressure back on Afghanistan with some quick scoring.

Porterfield fell for seven when he was caught by Shah off Nabi but Stirling cracked six fours and a six in hitting 34 in 30 balls.

He fell to Dawlat Zadran before Joyce stroked a confident 74 in 132 balls including 13 fours and Niall O'Brien an unbeaten 40 in 105 deliveries.

Ireland are now in position to push for the victory which would given them a unique 2013 treble having already won the ICC World Cricket League Championship and ICC World Twenty20 2014 Qualifier.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, now face a huge battle to preserve their 14-match unbeaten record in the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

© Cricket World 2013