AFGHANISTAN’S TOUR OF IRELAND, 2019
Shahzad hit his sixth ODI hundred. © Getty
Mohammad Shahzad’s ton and some late hitting by Hashmatullah Shahidi and Najibullah Zadran propelled Afghanistan to 305 for 7 in the series-deciding second ODI in Belfast on Tuesday (May 21). Shahzad and Rahmat Shah scored 150 for the second wicket to set up the visitors for a big score before they somewhat lost their way in the last 18 overs.
Put in, Shahzad made his intentions pretty clear as he charged down the track and smashed a boundary on the very first ball. Noor Ali Zadran struggled for ten deliveries, scoring five, before he was nipped out by Mark Adair. The pressure, however, continued to stay on Ireland as Shahzad’s assault helped Afghanistan made a brisk start.
The opener reached his half-century off 40 balls as the visitors cruised past 100 inside 18 overs. Shah continued to play second fiddle and scored his half-century off 78 balls before falling in the 32nd over for 62. Shahzad wicket five balls later dented Afghanistan’s progress as they were once again forced to rebuild instead of scoring freely. Andy McBrine’s twin strikes in the over gave Ireland the stronghold they were desperately searching for after being put on the back foot. It was not all doom and gloom for Afghanistan as Shahzad sounded the warning bells prior to the World Cup with his sixth ODI ton off 85 balls.
From 175 for 1, Afghanistan slipped to 212 for 5 but were propped up by Shahidi (47) and Zadran. They scored 86 for the sixth wicket – taking out 54 from overs 44-48 – and lead the recovery. Zadran ended unbeaten on 60 off 33 to prop up his side just when they needed it.
Brief scores: Afghanistan 305/7 in 50 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 101; Andy McBrine 2-43) vs Ireland.