Paul Stirling’s 11th ODI hundred in vain for Ireland as Afghanistan take unassailable 2-0 lead in series

Paul Stirling’s 11th ODI hundred came in vain as Rahmat Shah’s unbeaten 103 steered Afghanistan to a series-sealing, seven-wicket victory over Ireland in Abu Dhabi.

Ireland – now 2-0 down in the three-match series – made 259-9 with opener Stirling scoring a brilliant 128 from 132 balls, featuring four sixes and 12 fours.

However, Afghanistan – 16-run victors in Thursday’s opening fixture – reached their target in 45.2 overs with Rahmat’s 109-ball knock containing two sixes and 10 fours.

Hashmatullah Shahidi (82 from 100 balls) provided Rahmat with superb support during a 184-run stand for the third wicket following the loss of openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (31) and Javed Ahmadi (16).

Hashmatullah fell with Afghanistan needing 28 to win, but a quick-fire 21 from captain Asghar Afghan helped his side to victory with 28 balls to spare and they will be targeting a clean sweep in Tuesday’s final game.

Stirling – who has overtaken William Porterfield as Ireland’s all-time leading run-scorer across all formats – and Curtis Campher (47) put on 106 for Ireland’s fourth wicket, but the tourists slipped from 210-3 in the 42nd over as they lost six wickets in their final nine overs.

Naveen-ul-Haq got the crucial wicket of Stirling and finished with figures of 4-42 from his 10 overs, while Mujeeb Ur Rahman took 3-46.

Naveen, Mujeeb, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi all went at under five runs an over, while Ireland’s next highest scorer after Stirling and Campher was Harry Tector with 24.


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