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McCarthy five-fer helps Ireland level series against Afghanistan

Barry McCarthy claimed his maiden five-wicket haul
Barry McCarthy claimed his maiden five-wicket haul

Ireland 271-9 (Stirling 82) beat
Afghanistan 220 (McCarthy 5-46) by 51 runs
Second One-Day International in Sharjah

Barry McCarthy claimed a five-wicket haul as Ireland restricted Afghanistan to 220 runs and completed a 51 run victory in the second One-Day International in Sharjah to level the series 1-1.

Coming off from a demoralising defeat in the first game, Ireland opted to bat first on winning the toss. William Porterfield (47) and Paul Stirling (82) gave the perfect start for the team with a 115 run opening stand off just 131 deliveries.

The duo dealt with the unorthodox Afghan bowlers especially Mujeeb Zadran (2-50) with ease and shared 15 boundaries and a six between them to lay a perfect platform for the middle order to launch.

Stirling brought his half-century off 51 deliveries and the 100-run stand between him and Porterfield came in the 18th over. The introduction of Rashid Khan (2-40) applied brakes on the scoring rate. The pressure resulted in both Porterfield and Stirling departing in successive overs from Gulbadin Naib (1-36) and Rashid.

Mujeeb capitalised on the opportunity as he accounted for Andrew Balbirnie (4) and Niall O'Brien (13) while Rashid picked his second wicket when he castled Gary Wilson (0) for a first ball duck.

From being 115 for naught, Ireland lost six wickets in a span of 71 runs. Just when the innings was losing momentum, George Dockrell (62) played a decisive 48-ball knock that had seven boundaries and a six to lift the score to 271 for nine in their 50 overs.

In the chase, even though Javed Ahmadi (48), Ihsanullah Janat (20) and Rahmat Shah (32) had starts, they failed to carry on big with McCarthy (5-46) introduced as the fourth change bowler troubling the top order.

With Peter Chase (2-45) providing double strike of Mohammad Nabi (29) and Gulbadin Naib (3) while McCarthy cleaned up the lower order to bowl Afghanistan out for 220 in 45.2 overs and completed a 51 run victory for Ireland.

McCarthy's five-wicket haul helped him claim the man of the match as well.

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