Match: Ireland vs Afghanistan, (IRE vs AFG, 5th T20I)
Date: August 17, 2022 – 8 PM IST
Venue: Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast
The enthralling five-match T20I series between Ireland and Afghanistan has reached its culmination point, with the scoreline levelled at 2-2 heading into the decider. The fifth and final match will take place at the very same venue of Belfast on Wednesday, August 17th.
After losing the first two games, the visiting side Afghanistan has turned things around excellently to level the series. They came out victorious by 27 runs in the rain-affected 11-over contest in the fourth T20I on Monday.
Batting first, Afghanistan posted a strong total of 132/6 on the back of some outrageous hitting from the likes of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran and Rashid Khan. Gurbaz got the team off to a flyer with 24 off 13 balls with Najibullah taking over and blasting a 24-ball fifty. Rashid Khan then hammered 31* in just 10 balls to give them a final push.
Defending the target, Ireland were pretty much into the contest with the scoreboard reading 63/3 in 5.5 overs. But then Afghan bowlers forced a big collapse, reducing the hosts to 69/7. George Dockrell gave a lone fight with 41* off 27 but it wasn’t enough. Fareed Ahmad claimed 3 for 14 in two overs while Naveen-ul-Haq and Rashid picked two scalps each.
Pitch Report and Weather Forecast for IRE vs AFG, 5th T20I
The Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast has hosted 30 T20 matches, with the average first innings score reading 125. The pitches have been much more batting friendly this year, the average first innings score of 162 from seven matches. The last game saw both teams scoring 230+ runs in 22 overs combined.
The weather in Belfast on Wednesday afternoon is likely to be partly sunny. There’s a 25% chance of precipitation in the afternoon, with the temperature around 18°C.
Ireland – Expected XI and Team News
Ireland brought back Barry McCarthy in the last game, replacing Graham Hume. Simi Singh also returned to the side, with Curtis Campher missing out. Keep an eye on their playing XI as the bowling attack could see a change or two.
Probable XI – Paul Stirling, Andy Balbirnie (c), Lorcan Tucker (wk), Harry Tector, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Simi Singh, Fionn Hand, Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy, Joshua Little
Afghanistan – Expected XI and Team News
Afghanistan made a couple of changes in the last game, with left arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi getting ruled out of the final two games. Fareed Ahmad replaced him and did a great job. In the batting department, Usman Ghani made way for Sharafuddin Ashraf.
Probable XI – Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fareed Ahmad
Head to head record of IRE vs AFG
Total Encounters – 22
Afghanistan Won – 16
Ireland Won – 6
Ireland lead the last five encounters by 3-2.
5th T20I: Five players to watch out for in the IRE vs AFG match
Here we take a look at five key players you must pick in your MPL fantasy XI:
Najibullah Zadran: Batter, Afghanistan
Najibullah Zadran backed his 18-ball 42 in the third T20I with a stunning 50 off just 24 balls in the fourth game. The left hander is a brilliant striker and has a superb record in T20 internationals, having scored 1477 runs in 76 matches at an average of 34 while striking at 141. Zadran has registered eight half centuries at this level.
Rashid Khan: Bowler, Afghanistan
Rashid Khan went wicketless in the first three games but produced a spectacular all-round display in the last game. He smashed 10-ball 31* and then snared two scalps with the ball. Rashid’s T20 record is mind-boggling, with 468 wickets at an economy of 6.39 and strike rate of 16.8. The leg-spinner has taken four or more wickets in an innings on 13 occasions.
Lorcan Tucker: Wicketkeeper Batter, Ireland
Lorcan Tucker has found his most suited role at number three. The wicket-keeper batter has played nine innings at number three in international T20s, scoring 359 runs at an average of 45 while striking at 142. He has four fifties to his credit batting at this position, including 50 off 32 in the first game of this series.
George Dockrell: All-rounder, Ireland
The 30yr old all-rounder has been in seriously fine touch, mainly with the bat. In his last innings, George Dockrell has scored three fifties and two 40s. He has also picked seven wickets in the last four innings he has bowled. Dockrell is yet to be dismissed in this series and his last two innings read 58* off 37 and 41* off 27.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz: Wicketkeeper Batter, Afghanistan
Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashed 53 in 35 balls in the third game of the series and followed it up with 24 off 13 in the 11-over shootout. Gurbaz, amongst the most promising talents, has scored 672 runs in T20Is at an average of 26 and strike rate of 134. In overall T20s, he has 2100 runs with a hundred and 13 fifties.
MPL Fantasy XI
Where and what time to watch the match live in India
For those in India, you can catch all the live action of the series between Ireland and Afghanistan on the online streaming platform FanCode.
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.