AFGHANISTAN V IRELAND IN INDIA 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
Murtagh made unbeaten 54 to lift Ireland. © Getty
Factor this – the first 85 runs on the board took up nine wickets, and the next 85 has been without one. 172 might seem like nothing anyway, and it may end up being nothing too, but this final-wicket-stand has saved Ireland some serious embarrassment.
If the first session was a bad joke playing out on the Irish, with their batsmen looking all at sea against the spinning variations on display, the second was their moment of redemption, turning the tables with what was a counter-attack deserving of a promotion.
Tim Murtagh, the number eleven, showed the intent that his side’s top-order missed big time, notching up a half-century off 72 balls including four fours and two sixes, to gang up with George Dockrell, who hung around for a patient 100 deliveries. What was impressive was the way the duo batted against the spinners, who seemed to have lost the ploy all of a sudden, dishing out some innocuous deliveries.
The session began just like the one before this ended. As if dealing with Nabi’s off-breaks and Rashid’s wristy variations weren’t enough, Waqar Salamkheil came on with his nagging left-arm wrist-spinners to wreck further havoc. He cleaned up Andy McBrine in the very first over after the lunch break. James Cameron-Dow and Dockrell hung around for nearly ten overs, but could add only 16 runs in the interim before Salamkheil struck again.
It needed Ahmadzai, brought back as the final roll of the die, to stick to the basics of getting rid of tailenders, with a good length delivery just outside off for Dockrell to poke and nick to the keeper.
But make no mistake, on a seemingly flat and low track, Afghanistan must hope for a better show from their batsmen, surely better than what they did at Bangalore a few months ago.
Brief scores: Ireland 172 all-out in 60 overs (Tim Murtagh 54, George Dockrell 39; Mohammad Nabi 3-36, Yamin Ahmadzai 3-41) vs Afghanistan.