Tuesday March 14, 2017
Kabul (BNA) AFGHANISTAN pulled off the unthinkable against Ireland in their third T20 at Greater Noida, scoring at breakneck speed to send T20 International records tumbling as they pulled home a series whitewash.
A blistering 89 at a strike rate of 296.66 from number six Mohammad Nabi helped Afghanistan plunder 104 runs from the final six overs — the highest total ever accumulated from the final 36 balls in T20I history. But the records didn’t stop there. Afghanistan, an Associate team that does not play Test cricket, finished with 233 runs, making it the highest score ever by an Associate side in T20Is and the eighth highest score of all sides throughout the format’s 13-year history. Afghanistan’s onslaught ended particularly badly for Ireland bowler Barry McCarthy. The 24-year-old seamer was tonked around the ground for 69 runs off his four overs — overtaking South Africa’s Kyle Abbott for the most expensive spell in T20I history. But possibly the most stunning figure of all was how they crushed Ireland’s lower order to close out the match. Ireland began their chase well with opener Paul Stirling hitting four sixes on his way to 34 from 15 balls to give his side a head start.
The men in green sat at 5/199 at the end of the 18th over, needing 35 runs to seal the victory, but then Afghanistan put on the gas. Ireland lost five wickets for six runs, squandering their winnable position and crumbling to 205 all out, handing Afghanistan the whitewash and one of the most dominant finishes seen in T20I history. Ireland had no answers to Afghanistan’s onslaught. “It was a fantastic game of cricket to have both teams score over 200, so credit to the ground staff and to how the teams played,” Ireland captain William Porterfield said after the match. “It’s been a deserved series win for Afghanistan but there hasn’t been that much between the teams really, just five balls either way in the games. “You cut down a few boundaries and you score a few more. You have to give it to them though as they’ve come hard at us and won the matches. “You know in these games it’s going to come down to the last over or so. I was pleased with the way we kept coming and kept fighting to the end.”