The second game of the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series between Ireland and Afghanistan at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground has entered the record books after witnessing two bowlers taking six-wickets hauls. Paul Stirling picked up 6/55 for Ireland while Rashid Khan took 6/43 for Afghanistan as the match became the first instance of two bowlers taking six wickets in the same ODI.
In a cracker of a match that saw both teams scoring over 300, Afghanistan had the last laugh as Ireland fell short by 34 runs while chasing an imposing total of 338.
Batting first, Afghanistan got off to a good start with the in-form Mohammad Shahzad (63) and Noor Ali Zadran (25) adding 90 runs for the first wicket before Shahzad was trapped by George Dockrell. Four runs later, the batting team suffered another setback when Zadran was run-out but Ireland failed to capitalise on the breakthroughs as Rahmat Shah (68) and Asghar Stanikzai (101) set the platform for a huge score for their team. At 291/4 in the 45th over, Afghanistan looked destined for a score of over 350 but Stirling took six wickets in his last five overs, including three in the final over of the innings to help his team Ireland restrict Afghanistan to 338. His figures of 6/55 in 10 overs is now the best by any Irish bowler in ODIs, eclipsing Trent Johnston’s 5/14 against Canada in Centurion in 2009.
Meanwhile, Ireland fired on all cylinders right from the start and were 113 for no loss in the 19th over before Ed Joyce was clean bowled by Gulbadin Naib. With Paul Stirling looking in red-hot form, the batting team was going very strong before their promising chase was derailed by Rashid Kha, who dismissed Stirling (95), William Porterfield (45) and Niall O ‘Brien (5) in quick succession. Ireland never recovered from those setbacks and kept on losing wickets at regular intervals before being eventually dismissed for 304 in the 48th over. Rashid Khan was Afghanistan’s best bowler with figures of 6/43. His figures are now the best by any Afghanistan bowler in ODIs, surpassing Rahmat Shah’s 5/32 against the UAE in Kuala Lumpur in 2014.