Gurbaz ton leads Afghanistan to victory over Ireland

Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored a century as Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 16 runs in the first ODI in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz on way to his century against Ireland in Abu Dhabi.   -  Twitter/@ACBofficials

Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored a century as Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 16 runs in the first ODI in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

The 19-year-old batsman slammed 127, while Rashid Khan smashed 55 off 30 balls as Afghans put up 287-9 in 50 overs. For Ireland, offie Andy McBrine grabbed a five-for (5-29).

However, the Ireland batsmen found it difficult from the beginning. Even though Lorcan Tucker played a gritty innings of 83, that was not enough as the side fell 16 runs short of the target.

Opting to bat first, Gurbaz and Javed Ahmadi piled on 120 runs in the opening partnership, but soon, a middle-order collapse saw the side struggling. However, with Rashid stepping up, things eased out. While Afghans found it difficult to play McBrine, the Irish bowler went on to scalp his first ODI five-for. He also became the eighth Irish bowler to take 50 ODI wickets.

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The second game in the three-match series will be played on Sunday. Being the first fixture of the World Cup Super League - which serves as part of the 2023 Cricket World Cup qualification process - Afghanistan earned 10 points from the win.