Stirling, McCarthy lead Ireland’s series-levelling win

Ireland defeated Afghanistan by 51 runs in the second One-Day International in Sharjah.

Paul Stirling hit eight boundaries and a six in his 96-ball 82.   -  AFP

Opener Paul Stirling cracked a brilliant half-century while medium pacer Barry McCarthy took a maiden five wicket haul to guide Ireland to a 51-run win over Afghanistan in Sharjah on Thursday. Stirling's 96-ball 82 and 62 not out by George Dockrell helped Ireland put up a fighting 271 for 9 in its 50 overs before it bowled out Afghanistan for 220 in 45.2 overs in the second One-Day International.

Medium pacer Barry McCarthy finished with a career best 5 for 46 as only opener Javed Ahmadi could offer any resistance with a patient 67-ball 48.

Scorecard

Afghanistan had won the first match by 138 runs. The third and final match is also in Sharjah on Sunday.

The series serves as a preparation for both the teams for the World Cup 2019 qualifiers to be held in Zimbabwe in March next year.

Six for 38

Chasing a big total, none of the Afghanistan batsmen capitalised on good starts with Rahmat Shah (32), Mohammad Nabi (29) and Nasir Jamal (25) also losing wickets after getting well set.

McCarthy, whose previous best of 4 for 59 also came against Afghanistan at Belfast last year, sparked a collapse which saw Afghanistan lose its last six wickets for a mere 38 runs. Ireland was put on the track of a solid total by Stirling, who put on 115 for the first wicket with skipper William Porterfield (47) - a new record against Afghanistan, beating 113 Stirling and Ed Joyce put on in Noida (Delhi, India) earlier this year.

Stirling hit eight boundaries and a six.

Dockrell gave the late order lift to the innings with a 48-ball 62 not out spiced with seven fours and a six.

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