Ireland clinches T20 series win vs. Afghanistan
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — George Dockrell edged Ireland to a T20 international series victory over Afghanistan in a tense conclusion to a rain-affected decider in Belfast.
Dockrell hit the decisive run as the home side clinched a 3-2 win by seven wickets after reaching a reduced target of 56 with two balls of their seven allotted overs to spare.
Having won the toss and put the Afghans in, Ireland got off to a good start when Mark Adair removed openers Hazratullah Zazai, who had dispatched the two previous balls to the boundary, and Rahmanullah Gurbaz in his first over.
When Adair had Ibrahim Zadran caught by Barry McCarthy, he had 3-16 and the tourists had been reduced to 26 for three inside four overs.
Usman Ghani steadied the ship, but Josh Little had Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi caught behind by Lorcan Tucker off successive deliveries in his second spell, but with Ghani unbeaten on 44 and his side having reached 95 for five from 15 overs, rain intervened.
Paul Stirling needed just five runs to reach 3,000 in T20 internationals as Ireland’s reply got under way, and he made it within three balls, cutting Naveen ul Haq for four off the first and taking a single from the third.
Fellow opener Andrew Balbirnie was trapped in front for nine attempting to sweep Mujeeb Ur Rahman with the score on 17, Mujeeb had Stirling caught at deep midwicket for 16 to give his side hope, and Tucker soon followed for 14.
However Harry Tector and Dockrell saw their side home for the loss of three wickets.
More AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports