Dehradun: Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie blasted scintillating fifties to guide Ireland to a comprehensive five-wicket win over Afghanistan in the fifth ODI and level the five-match series 2-2 on Sunday. Stirling hit a strokeful 88-ball 70 laced with seven fours and two sixes, while Balbirnie anchored the Ireland innings, making a 91-ball 68 as the duo added 81 runs to lay the foundation for the chase after Afghanistan posted 216 for six.
Stirling also shared a 57-run opening stand with Porterfield, while Balbirnie forged a 46-run partnership with KJ O’Brien to take the team home, scoring 219 for five in 47.2 overs. For Aghanistan, Zahir Khan (2/55) took two wickets, while Muheeb Ur Rahman (1/26), Mohammad Nabi (1/47) and Rashid Khan (1/41) scalped one each.
“All the batters are aware how good their spinners are. I just kind of knew my game, we watched a lot of their footage,” said Andy Balbirnie, who was adjudged the man of the series. Earlier put into bat, Asghar Afghan (82) starred in two valuable partnership — 76 with Mohammad Nabi (40) and 65 with Rashid Khan (35) — to help Afghanistan score 216 for six in the stipulated 50 overs.
Afghan’s 111-ball innings was studded with six fours and a couple of sixes. “It was a good series, we are targeting the world cup, so we made changes in every match. Top order’s a concern, the Test match should offer an opportunity,” Afghan said after the match.
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