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Afghanistan grab World Cup spot

Afghanistan have sealed World Cup spot with a five-wicket victory over Ireland in the last match of the Super Sixes at World Cup qualifier at Harare Sports Club, Harare. It will be Afghanistan’s second-ever World Cup next year in England and Wales.

Afghanistan grab World Cup spot

Ireland posted 209/7 in 50 overs after electing to bat first. Openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling gave the Irish a good start with a 53-run partnership. Ireland’s run-scoring was slower than it should had been.

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Stirling played his part with 55 runs off 87 balls including 3 fours and a six. Niall O’Brien made 41-ball 36 while his brother Kevin hit 41 off 37. Afghanistan bowlers did not let Ireland to post a big total.

Rashid Khan scalped three wickets for 40 runs. Dawlat Zadran took two for 49.

In reply, Mohammad Shahzad gave Afghanistan a flying start. He put on 86-run opening stand with Gulbadin Naib. Shahzad slammed 54 runs from 50 deliveries including 6 fours and 2 sixes. Gulbadin anchored the innings with his 91-ball 45.

The asking rate went up  as Irish bowlerd restricted Afghan batsmen from easy runs. Samiullah Shenwari’s 27 from 63 put Afghanistan in further trouble. Star all-rounder Mohammad Nabi could not do much either.

Skipper Asghar Stanikzai played a heroic role to take his country to the World Cup. He and Najibullah Zadran took Afghanistan to a win with five balls remaining as Stanikzai inside-edged Barry McCarthy for a boundary in the last over.

Unfit Stanikzai scored unbeaten 39* runs off 29 balls hitting 4 fours and a six. For Ireland, Simi Singh was their leading bowler with 3/30.

Afghanistan will take on Windies in the Final on Sunday (March 25).

Watch the video of Afghanistan’s celebration after sealing the spot for World Cup 2019-

 

Brief scores:

Ireland 209/7 in 50 overs (Stirling 55, K O’Brien 41; Rashid 3/40, Dawlat 2/49)

Afghanistan 213/5 in 49.1 overs (Shahzad 54, Stanikzai 39*; Simi 3/30, Rankin 1/41)

Afghanistan won by 5 wickets

Man of the Match: Mohammad Shahzad

 

-Ruffin, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com

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