Match: Ireland vs Afghanistan, 1stt T20I (IRE vs AFG)
Date: August 9, Tuesday, 8:00 PM IST
Venue: Civil Service Cricket Club, Belfast
Afghanistan are in Ireland for a five-match T20I series starting from the 9th of August. The series will provide both the teams an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2022 and get an idea of what their squad for the tournament will look like. For the mega event, Ireland have been placed in Group B along with Scotland, West Indies and Zimbabwe, while Afghanistan, who have already qualified for the Super 12 stage, will share the group with Australia, New Zealand and England.
Ireland have lost all their recent series and will be looking to make a fresh start. They recently hosted India and New Zealand, and were whitewashed in both the series. This was followed by another whitewash at the hands of South Africa. The Irish have lost their last 11 international matches on a trot, but put up a good fight in few of those games. Against India in June, they nearly chased down a total of 226.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, recently whitewashed Zimbabwe in both the ODI and T20I series, before which they won a T20I against Bangladesh. What will give them more confidence is that they have won 14 out of the total 18 T20Is against Ireland.
Ahead of the first T20I between Afghanistan and Ireland, let’s look at the head to head of both the teams, pitch report, weather update, top picks for your MPL fantasy team and more.
Weather update and pitch report for IRE vs AFG, 1st T20I
The pitch at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast has historically been balanced and we have not seen too many high-scoring games at this venue. A total of 26 T20I matches have been played at this venue, of which 14 have been won by the teams bowling first. The average first innings score on this ground is 121 while the average second innings score is 106. The highest and lowest T20I total recorded at the County Ground is 190 for 5 and 53 for 10.
The weather during the game will be pleasant and the sky will be clear. The temperature will fluctuate between 18 to 26 degrees. No rain is forecast.
Ireland team news and predicted XI
Team news: Ireland have lost their last 11 international matches on a trot, including three series in which they were whitewashed, and will be looking to break the losing streak when they take on Afghanistan.
Squad: Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie(c), Andy McBrine, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Lorcan Tucker(w), George Dockrell, Mark Adair, Simi Singh, Craig Young, Joshua Little, Stephen Doheny, Gareth Delany, Graham Hume
Predicted XI: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker, Harry Tector, Gareth Delany, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Barry McCarthy, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, and Craig Young.
Afghanistan team news and predicted XI
Team news: On paper, Afghanistan look slightly stronger than Ireland. Their recent form has also been better than that of Ireland, having recently whitewashed Zimbabwe in both the ODI and T20I series.
Squad: Mohammad Nabi (capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Darwish Rasooli, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Karim Janat, Azmatullah Omarzai, Noor Ahmed, Sharfuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Farid Ahmed Malik, Naveen ul Haq
Predicted XI: Hashmatullah Shahidi, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Afsar Zazai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Rashid Khan, Naveen ul Haq, Karim Janat, Fareed Ahmad Malik, Noor Ahmad.
Head to head record
The last time Afghanistan and Ireland played a T20 game of cricket was before the Covid19 pandemic, which Afghanistan won. They have overall met each other in 18 T20I matches of which Afghanistan have won 14. Ireland have lost all the last five T20Is played against Afghanistan.
Total games – 18
Afghanistan – 14
Ireland – 4
Last five games
Afghanistan – 5
Ireland – 0
Five players to watch out for
Here we list five players you must pick in your MPL fantasy XI for IRE vs AFG, 1st T20I
Paul Stirling – batter, Ireland
Paul Stirling is the most experienced player in the current Ireland squad He recently scored a century in the ODI series against New Zealand and a knock of 40 against the same team in the T20I series. Stirling is currently the fourth-highest run-scorer in T20 internationals, only behind Rohit Sharma, Martin Guptill and Virat Kohli, and is only 60 runs short of reaching 3000 runs in the format.
Harry Tector– batter, Ireland
Harry Tector was among the top performers at the Cricket Ireland Inter Provincial Trophy recently. He scored an unbeaten 58 in the second game and an unbeaten 28 in the third game. Earlier when Ireland played New Zealand in ODIs, Tector scored two centuries in three games. Most recently against South Africa, he hit 34 runs in the second T20I. Tector has played 39 T20Is in all, and has scored 713 runs at an average and strike rate of 24.58 and 129.16.
Rashid Khan – all-rounder, Afghanistan
One of the best all-rounders in the game’s shortest format, Rashid Khan is a must-have player in your fantasy cricket team. He put up some fine performances at the recent Vitality T20 Blast and will be looking to carry the form into international cricket. Rashid is also the highest wicket taker for Afghanistan in T20Is against Ireland (34).
Hazratullah Zazai – batsman, Afghanistan
Hazratullah Zazai is a good choice for your MPL team’s captaincy. With more than 400 runs, Zazai is Afghanistan’s highest run-scorer against Ireland in T20Is. The southpaw is also a great striker of the ball, having a strike rate of 147.63 in 25 T20Is.
Naveen-ul-Haq – bowler, Afghanistan
Along with Rashid Khan, Naveen Haq will be the other key bowler for Afghanistan. He was the second-highest wicket-taker in the recent T20 Blast, with 25 wickets at an average of 16.16. Although Haq does not have too much international experience, he has played 107 T20s, picking up 133 wickets.
MPL fantasy XI – IRE vs AFG, 1st T20I
IRE vs AFG – where and what time to watch the match live in India
The Ireland vs Afghanistan series will not be televised live in India. But you can watch the game on the Fancode app. The match will begin at 8.00 PM IST on August 9.
Check out our detailed guide on fantasy cricket for more tips and tricks. https://www.mpl.live/blog/todays-match-prediction/
Note: The players recommended here need not be a part of the Playing 11 on game day. Users are advised to do their own research also and follow official sources and create their teams.