Latest Match Report – Afghanistan vs Ireland 3rd T20I 2023/24

Afghanistan 155 for 7 lost (Ibrahim 72*, Ishaq 27) Ireland 98 (Camper 28, Omarzai 4-9, Naveen 3-10) 57 runs

Ibrahim Sadran scored an unbeaten 72, his highest T20 score, Asmatullah Umarzai took more wickets than he had in the entire series, and Naveen-ul-Haq found himself in plenty of action in the field. As a result, Afghanistan won the third T20I against Ireland by 57 runs to clinch the series 2-1 from 1-0 down.

Ibrahim's sixth T20I half-century took Afghanistan to 155 and Ireland's chase was never-ending. In the third over, Naveen scored twice and Fazalhaq Farooqui scored 15 runs for 3 wickets. There was a brief recovery when Harry Dektor and Curtis Camper added 24, but that was it. Camper and Gareth Delaney offered brief hope as they faced 46 for 5, but Ireland lost 5 for 16 in a lower-order collapse as Omarzai took 4 for 9 and Naveen finished with 3 for 10.

Sloppy Delaney all around

Ibrahim was on 10 when Delaney dropped a simple catch from Camper in the sixth over. Placed at deep square leg, he doesn't move forward even with his eyes on the skier.

When Delaney came in to bowl the seventh over, he failed to collect a throw from short third and Chedigulla Atal conceded an extra run. In the next over, Delaney again dropped a tough catch from Omarzai after running forward from Kaempfer point. But on 1 run at that point, Omarzai fell for 3 runs off two balls. Then came another misfield from Delaney in the ninth over.

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As if that wasn't enough, Ireland suffered further misfortune – exactly like in the first T20I. Ben White caught Mohammed Ishaq at deep midwicket in the 13th over but the umpire ruled it a no-ball but replays showed the heel, which was the first point of impact, landed just behind the line. Ishaq was on 15 at the time and went on to score 27 before a fine catch by Paul Stirling caught him off White in the 15th over.

Ibrahim authority for Afghanistan

Coming into this game, Ibrahim's T20I strike rate was just under 105. But on Monday night he scored 141 runs. He had only hit one boundary as he had only scored his first 12 runs before he was dropped. 13 balls. But he scored 60 off his next 38 balls.

Ibrahim found occasional boundaries during his 54-run stand for the fourth wicket with Ishaq, while ticking over singles and doubles. He pulled and slog white off the sweep, and holed Josh Little at extra cover after chambering. But Ibrahim spared Mark Adair two stylish shots, hitting him over long-off wide for a six, and in the 18th over he scored 4 runs over short fine.

Naveen sets the tone in the powerplay

Naveen's first ball of the second over had tremendous seam movement and extra bounce. The ball lands on a good length at the sixth stump but hits Andy Palbirni's leg stump. His second ball bowled Lorcan Tucker for a golden duck. Fittingly, Naveen also cleaned up White to end Ireland's innings on 98, this time licking the bat with a slower ball.

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Chips with Omarzai ball

Omarzai came into the game after being dismissed on the first ball of the succession and ended the series with three runs to his name. But he went with the ball. Moved one off Tector and caught at deep midwicket in the eighth over, Ireland threatened to rebuild. In the tenth over, Omarzai found George Dogrell's front leg out of the way and angled a follow-through. Daghrell also found deep midwicket where Naveen took his second catch.

With the game over, Omarzai Adair was dismissed before taking a return catch from Barry McCarthy in the 16th over. Omerzai saw McCarthy go down and went to drag him to the room as the inertia of the pitch drew Adair early. A comfortable delivery to his left gave him four wickets and the match for Afghanistan.

Himanshu Aggarwal is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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