The Bowlers To Provide, In Unison, Like Afghanistan, With 1-0 In The Head > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Bowlers deliver in unison as Afghanistan take 1-0 lead

Mujeeb's figures after his first five overs read: 5-3-3-3.

A terrific opening spell of bowling from Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Dawlat Zadran played a pivotal part in Afghanistan recording a seamless win over Ireland in the first ODI at the Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium in Dehradun on Thursday (Ferbruary 28).

A delightful William Porterfield chose to bat first under sultry conditions and he backed his batters to get them to a competitive total. Unfortunately though for the visiting side, Mujeeb wrecked havoc at the top with his befuddling variations and reduced Ireland to 15/3 at the end of the ten-over mark. Mujeeb's figures after his first five overs read: 5-3-3-3.

Ireland found it really hard to trace the road to recovery as they kept losing wickets without any sort of momentum in the scoreboard. Around the 31st over, they were 69/6 and looked set to bundle out inside fifty overs. A tenacious partnership between Stirling and George Dockrell, however, rekindled hopes of a comeback and the duo engineered a 76-run stand for the seventh wicket to help their side post a total of some substance.

The key element during the partnership between Stirling and Dockrell was patience and handling the spinners with a straight bat. Both batsmen showed great intent to take the game deep and it did pay off eventually as Ireland ended up posting a total over 150 to pose some challenge for the home team. Just when the partnership seemed blossoming, Dockrell swiped at a skiddy legbreak from Rashid and threw his wicket away with 26 balls to spare.

Stirling, however, carried his good form from the T20I series and amassed 89 valuable runs for his side. Although his strike rate might not justify the quality of his innings, the burly right-hander displayed great grit and determination to take the game deep and hold one end for his side.

Chasing 162, Afghanistan got off to a steady start before playing the waiting game during middle overs. Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai amassed 43 runs in 12 overs and seemed to have things under control until a Kevin O'Brien special sent the latter packing back to the dressing room. Post Zazai's dismissal, Shahzad struggled for timing and as did his partner Rahmat Shah who both got out, trying to find some momentum, in the span of three overs.

Hashmatullah Shahidi's innings was a nightmare to say the least as the left-hander struggled to rotate strike and eventually got out for a 29-ball nine. The arrival of skipper Asghar Afghan infused the much-needed urgency as all-rounder Gulbadin Naib took over the finishing duties and smacked 6 fours and one six in his 61-ball 46. Though Naib fell nine short of the target, the chase never seemed intimidating for the mighty Afghanistan line up with plenty of dew setting in.

Ireland will look to level things when they meet the hosts for the second ODI at the same venue on Saturday.

Brief scores: Ireland 161 in 49.2 overs lost to (Paul Stirling 89, George Dockrell 37; Mujeeb ur Rahman 3-14, Dawlat Zadran 3-35) lost to Afghanistan 165/5 in 41.5 overs (Gulbadin Naib 46; Boyd Rankin 2-48) by 5 wickets.

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