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by Alastair Symondson Wednesday 27 February 2019
Afghanistan had a bagful of positives to take from the T20I series. Hazratullah Zazai got to the second highest individual score in T20 internationals, Ireland piled up the highest team score in T20I internationals, Mohammad Nabi played an explosive 80 odd run-knock, Rashid Khan picked up a hat-trick. These were the highlights for Afghanistan in the T20I series.
Ireland struggled due to the loopholes in their batting. Their top order was still solid with the likes of Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien performing well. However, due to the inclusion of several bits and pieces players, their middle order and lower middle order lacked depth which was exposed while chasing big totals. The need of the hour for them is to include specialist batsmen who can play with responsibility and have the skill to take the team over the line.
William Porterfield will lead the side and would be one of the leading batters along with Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling. The team would have a lot of hope from Boyd Rankin and Simi Singh in the bowling apartment.
As always, Afghanistan would depend on the quality of spin that they have in the side with Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi in the ranks. Another boost for the side would be the addition of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad.
Let's have a look at the probable playing XI of both teams.
Afghanistan- Asghar Afghan (c), Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Aftab Alam, Javed Ahmadi, Gulbadin Naib, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Ireland- William Porterfield (c), Boyd Rankin, Kevin O Brien, Stuart Poynter, James McCollum, Paul Stirling, Tim Murtagh, Andrew Balbirnie, Andy McBrine, George Dockrell, Simi Singh
Who will win? – Afghanistan
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) –Paul Stirling (Ireland), Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Boyd Rankin (Ireland), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Most Sixes – Paul Stirling (Ireland), Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan)
Team Scores Batting First – Ireland 270+, Afghanistan 230 +
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features soon, so stay tuned.
©Cricket World 2019