Naib, Shahzad Help Afghanistan Level Series Against Ireland

Mohammad Shahzad’s century and a fine bowling show by captain Gulbadin Naib helped Afghanistan level the two-match series against Ireland with a 126-run win in the second ODI on Tuesday. 

Ireland’s James McCollum’s struggle early on didn’t help Ireland. He fell for 3 off 16. Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling got the chase going with a 48-run stand.

Balbirnie’s wicket led to a wobble as Ireland soon slipped to 119 for 6 from 77 for 1. Stirling scored a half-century but failed to carry on as Ireland lost momentum really quickly and never recovered from the collapse.

Earlier in the day, Shahzad made his intentions pretty clear as he charged down the track and smashed a boundary on the very first ball.

Noor Ali Zadran didn’t last long and was dismissed for 5 before Rahmat Shah and Shahzad built the platform with a 150-run second-wicket stand. The opener reached his half-century off 40 balls as the visitors cruised past 100 inside 18 overs.

From 175 for 1, Afghanistan slipped to 212 for 5 but were propped up by Hashmatullah Shahidi (47) and Najibullah Zadran, who ended unbeaten on 66 and lifted the side when they really needed it.

Afghanistan was last the first ODI to Ireland by 72 runs.

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