Mujeeb's flying start sets up another Afghanistan win

By Sports Desk February 28, 2019

Teenage bowler Mujeeb Ur Rahman starred as Afghanistan eased to another victory over Ireland in Thursday's opening ODI.

Afghanistan ran out 3-0 winners in the Twenty20 international series and were again comfortable in the 50-over format, winning by five wickets.

Mujeeb took superb figures of 3-14, while Dawlat Zadran passed 100 ODI wickets with 3-35, as Ireland were limited to 161 all out.

That meagre total allowed Afghanistan to coast and there were 49 balls remaining when Najibullah Zadran - 12 not out off three balls - smashed the match-clinching six, taking his side to 165-5.

Ireland's dismal start was always likely to cost them. Mujeeb had them reduced to 14-3 inside eight overs, taking all three wickets, including the lbw dismissals of Andrew Balbirnie (2) and James McCollum (0) from consecutive deliveries.

Paul Stirling's 89 off 150 allowed Ireland to recover some composure, yet their innings ended as it began with a flurry of wickets as Dawlat Zadran came to the fore.

He took out Barry McCarthy and Tim Murtagh for ducks in the same over - reaching his milestone with the former - before Gulbadin Naib concluded Ireland's innings four balls early as Stirling finally departed.

Afghanistan's reply plodded along, although Mohammad Shahzad's (43) partnerships of 43 and 47 with Hazratullah Zazai (25) and Rahmat Shah (22) did some early heavy lifting.

Naib contributed 46 before he was caught and bowled by George Dockrell, moving victory within reach as Najibullah Zadran arrived in the middle.

He hit a six off his first delivery and then another two balls later that completed the chase in clinical fashion.

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