Afghanistan defeats Ireland by 35 runs in first ODI

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates — Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 35 runs in the first One-Day International at Sharjah on Thursday.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran set the stage for Afghanistan with a solid opening partnership.

Gurbaz led the way with a commanding 121-run inning. Despite a strong effort from Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker, who combined for a 173-run partnership, Ireland fell short, ending at 275 for 8.

Afghanistan’s openers contributed significantly to the team’s total, sharing a 150-run stand. Gurbaz, alongside Hashmatullah Shahidi and Mohammad Nabi, who both played pivotal roles, helped Afghanistan surpass the 300-run mark. Shahidi’s unbeaten half-century was crucial in setting a challenging target.

Ireland’s response was hampered early, struggling at 34 for 3 before Tector and Tucker’s significant partnership. However, Afghanistan regained control after Tucker’s dismissal. Tector’s century was notable but insufficient for a victory.

Gurbaz’s performance was a highlight, hitting eight fours and six sixes, achieving a strike rate of 103.42. This match marked his sixth ODI century. ESPNcricinfo notes that against Ireland, Gurbaz averages 75.25 over four matches.

Zadran contributed with a 60 off 93 balls, marking his seventh ODI fifty. Shahidi also made a significant impact with a rapid 50 not out, bolstering his ODI record.

The partnership between Gurbaz and Zadran is now the highest opening stand for Afghanistan against Ireland in ODIs. Similarly, Tector and Tucker’s partnership is the highest for Ireland in ODIs against Afghanistan.

Tector’s century, his fifth in ODIs and first against Afghanistan, was a standout performance, featuring nine fours and three sixes.

On the bowling front, Theo van Woerkom was Ireland’s leading bowler with 3 wickets for 55 runs from 10 overs, marking his best performance in ODIs. For Afghanistan, Fazalhaq Farooqi took 4 wickets for 51 runs, adding to his tally of ODI scalps.