Afghanistan fights back in Ireland; keeps T20 series alive

Rahmanullah Gurbaz top-scored in Afghanistan’s 189-5 after the tourists lost the toss, with the opener’s innings well supported by Najibullah Zadran, whose 42 off just 18 balls featured five sixes.

File picture: Rahmanullah Gurbaz top-scored in Afghanistan’s 189-5 after the tourists lost the toss.

File picture: Rahmanullah Gurbaz top-scored in Afghanistan’s 189-5 after the tourists lost the toss. | Photo Credit: AFP

Rahmanullah Gurbaz top-scored in Afghanistan’s 189-5 after the tourists lost the toss, with the opener’s innings well supported by Najibullah Zadran, whose 42 off just 18 balls featured five sixes.

Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 22 runs in the third Twenty20 international in Belfast on Friday as it reduced the hosts’ lead to 2-1 in a five-match series.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz top-scored in Afghanistan’s 189-5 after the tourists lost the toss, with the opener’s innings well supported by Najibullah Zadran, whose 42 off just 18 balls featured five sixes.

Ireland, looking to take an unassailable 3-0 lead, then slumped to 85-7 in reply before the experienced George Dockrell and debutant Fionn Hand led an Ireland recovery.

The eighth-wicket duo put on 74 in just over six overs against a seasoned Afghanistan attack including established T20 internationals, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Hand made a fine 36 off only 18 balls before he was caught attempting to scoop Naveen-ul-Haq.

Dockrell finished unbeaten on 58 off 37 balls, including six fours and two sixes, but Ireland still came up short as they ended the match on 167-9.

The series continues at Stormont on Monday.

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