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Tector, White star as Ireland storms to victory in opening T20I against Afghanistan

Tector, White star as Ireland storms to victory in opening T20I against Afghanistan

Tector, White star as Ireland storms to victory in opening T20I against Afghanistan

Ireland Men stormed to a 38-run victory over Afghanistan in Sharjah on Friday thanks to superb performances from Harry Tector and Ben White.

Match Summary

Afghanistan 110/10 (18.4 ov)

Ireland 149/6 (20 ov)

Ireland won by 39 runs.

Tector's fifth T20I half-century propelled Ireland to 149-6 batting first, the 24-year-old helping his side bulldoze 58 runs from the final five overs and give his bowlers a strong total to defend.

They did so in style, with White excelling on his first outing since the end of last summer. His four overs resulted in figures of 4-20, the Munster Reds leg-spinner ripping through the Afghan middle-order to stun the crowd and ensure Ireland went 1-0 up in the three match T20I series.

Returning from injury, White wasn't the only new face in the Irish ranks in terms of this tour; Josh Little also returned to the bowling attack alongside all-rounder Gareth Delany and left-hand batter Neil Rock (who came in after George Dockrell withdrew with illness).

The hosts, meanwhile, welcomed captain Rashid Khan into the fold for the first time since the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, following which he had back surgery. Khan's first point of business was to win the toss and put Ireland into bat.

Andrew Balbirnie (22) and skipper Paul Stirling (25) made a bright start, but Afghanistan's spinners soon came to the fore.

Following Balbirnie's dismissal, Lorcan Tucker became the first of two scalps for 19-year-old Nangeyalia Kharote either side of Khan removing Stirling and Curtis Campher with successive deliveries. He almost had a hat-trick when he ripped one past Rock, who fell to Kharote the following over.

Up stepped Tector to continue his fine form, taking Ireland to 149-6 from their 20 overs. Tector's innings came from just 34 deliveries and included seven fours and two sixes, with the Leinster Lightning batter plundering 18 from the final four deliveries of the innings.

That not only set Afghanistan a challenging looking 150 for victory, it shifted the match's momentum.

Ireland's total looked even more troubling for the hosts when Mark Adair removed the dangerous Rahmanullah Gurbaz with the very first ball of the innings. Things got even better for Ireland the following over, Little striking twice in two deliveries to account for first Sediqullah Atal and then Azmatullah Omarzai to leave Afghanistan reeling at 6-3 after only two overs.

Ireland kept chipping away, with White and Barry McCarthy getting in on the act to further reduce Afghanistan to 50-5 inside nine overs. White became the third player of the match to be denied a hat-trick, dismissing Ijaz Ahmad Ahmadzai and Kharote with back-to-back balls and then got rid of Mohammad Nabi.

Little also returned to claim a third to see the back of Khan, firmly marking the point of no return for Afghanistan. McCarthy cleaned things up by taking the final wicket, bowling Afghanistan out for 111 with eight balls to spare.

Ireland had lost the ODI campaign 2-0, which came hot on the heels of their historic first Test win that kicked off the tour a fortnight ago. They are now just one win away from clinching victory in the T20I series.

The second T20I takes place at the same venue on Sunday before Monday's third and final match.

Match Stats

Ireland Fall of wickets: 1-38 (Andy Balbirnie - 4.3 ov), 2-54 (Lorcan Tucker - 7.4 ov), 3-66 (Paul Stirling - 10.2 ov), 4-66 (Curtis Campher - 10.3 ov), 5-72 (Neil Rock - 11.1 ov), 6-107 (Gareth Delany - 16.6 ov)

Afghanistan Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Rahmanullah Gurbaz - 0.1 ov), 2-4 (Sediqullah Atal - 1.4 ov), 3-4 (Azmatullah Omarzai - 1.5 ov), 4-42 (Mohammad Ishaq - 6.2 ov), 5-49 (Ibrahim Zadran - 8.3 ov), 6-78 (Ijaz Ahmadzai - 12.5 ov), 7-78 (Nangeyalia kharote - 12.6 ov), 8-91 (Mohammad Nabi - 14.3 ov), 9-97 (Rashid Khan - 16.1 ov), 10-110 (Naveen ul Haq - 18.4 ov)

Match Details:

Date: Friday, March 15, 2024 16:00

Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah

Toss: Afghanistan elected to bowl

Officials Umpires: Ahmed Shah Durrani (Afghanistan) Ahmed Shah Pakteen (Afghanistan) Bismillah Jan Shinwari (Afghanistan TV)

Match Referee: David Boon (Australia)

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