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Match Preview – Afghanistan vs Ireland, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022/23, 25th Match, Group 1

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Geographically, Afghanistan and Ireland are perhaps two of cricket’s most peculiar rivals, but the intensity of that rivalry grew out of a battle for associate supremacy throughout the 2010s before whether the two sides were elevated to test status in 2017. a virtual stalemate at that time, or joined at the hip since then as new faces of the full member society, these two teams know each other better than the most in this tournament.

Ireland and Afghanistan have faced each other in three consecutive finals in the men’s T20 World Cup qualifiers in 2010, 2012 and 2013, with the men in green winning the last two. This is among the 23 times these teams have met before in the format since first meeting in 2010. Remarkably, this will be the first time they have faced each other in a proper T20 World Cup.
With the exception of those back-to-back qualifying final victories, Afghanistan dominated the rivalry, thanks in large part to Ireland’s inability to negotiate Rashid Khan. But the tide turned last summer in Belfast when Ireland won a five-match series by a 3-2 margin. Rashid has won just one wicket in the three matches Ireland have won, highlighting a simple equation that has often determined the fate of the result over the years. Rashid takes the wickets – Afghanistan wins. Ireland sees him off – Ireland wins.

Form Guide

Afghanistan:LLLLW (last five matches completed, most recent result first)
Ireland: WLWWL

In the spotlight

For most of his career, the Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie beaten to No 3. But since Kevin O’Brien was dropped following Ireland’s disastrous performance at the 2021 T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, Balbirnie has settled into the starring role and justified his decision by doubling his total of four T20I in career. half centuries. The most recent of these came against England at the MCG, and it also served as the catalyst for the first-round win over West Indies which took them into the Super 12s with 37 from 23.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the best six-hitter in the Asian Cup, clearing the ropes 12 times to make 152 runs at a 163 strike rate. It might take that kind of muscle to clear the ropes at the MCG. He was also one of only three players to score half a century for Afghanistan in the five-game series held in Belfast in August.

Team News

George Dockrell has recovered from Covid-19 – he still played against England and Sri Lanka after testing positive – and should do well against Afghanistan. Ireland are unlikely to change the winning combination that saw them beat England on the same ground.

Ireland (likely): 1 Paul Stirling, 2 Andy Balbirnie (capt.), 3 Lorcan Tucker (wk), 4 Harry Tector, 5 Curtis Campher, 6 George Dockrell, 7 Gareth Delany, 8 Mark Adair, 9 Barry McCarthy, 10 Fionn Hand , 11 Josh Little

Afghanistan too are likely to keep the same combination that took the field five days earlier against England despite a losing effort.

Afghanistan (likely): 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Ibrahim Zadran, 4 Usman Ghani, 5 Najibullah Zadran, 6 Mohammad Nabi (capt.), 7 Azmatullah Omarzai, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 10 Fareed Ahmad, 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi

Location and conditions

The MCG has favored setters in this tournament and historically favored pursuit teams with 10 of 16 men’s T20I games won by the team beating second. The decision to proceed may be further bolstered by Friday’s forecast. Following rain that interrupted England’s pursuit of Ireland and forced Afghanistan’s game against New Zealand to be entirely washed out, an 80 per cent chance of showers is forecast from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday .

Quotation

“I saw a lot of rain while playing cricket, and I’ve never been so happy to see that rain fall when it happened.”
Captain of Ireland Andy Balbirnie at the end of their win over England at the MCG.

“We are not just here to participate, but here to win games. We have players and a team that can do that.”
Afghan coach Jonathan Trot on their approach to this year’s tournament.

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