Ireland kept on track for qualification for the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia with a 59-run win over Afghanistan in their second One-Day International in Clontarf, writes John Kenny.
The win ensured Phil Simmons’ side remain unbeaten in the World League a series for the world’s top Associate Nations.
Ireland, put into bat, made a lowly 163 in their innings which handed the Afghans the favourites tag.
However, an inspired bowling and fielding performance by Ireland meant that Afghanistan were bowled out for 104.
The result extends Ireland’s lead at the top of the Division 1 World League Table, and kept them right on course for World Cup qualification.
After the abandonment of the opening game on Wednesday due to the sodden nature of the pitch in Clontarf, today’s game went ahead after to Trojan work by head groundsman Bryan McDermott, albeit with a 45-minute delay to the start.
Play was due to start at 10.45am, but the umpires decided on a delayed start to 11.30am as last minute preparations were completed.
Earlier in the day, Afghanistan captain Karim Sadiq won the toss and decided to put Ireland into bat on a sunny morning in north Dublin.
That decision paid off handsomely, as a combination of some accurate bowling and some very poor shot selection meant that Ireland were in trouble right from the off.
Paul Sterling, William Porterfield, Niall O’Brien and Gary Wilson all fell cheaply as Ireland slumped to 33 for 4.
Ed Joyce and Kevin O’Brien managed to put on 47 for the fifth wicket, but O’Brien managed to get himself run out looking well set on 31.
Alex Cusack, John Mooney and Trent Johnston departed soon after as Ireland’s abject display continued.
Only Ed Joyce (67 not out), Tim Murtagh (15) and George Dockrell (9) late on at least edged Ireland past the 150 mark.
Ireland’s innings of 163, after being put into bat when they lost the toss, looked a small target.
However, Afghanistan, like Ireland, got themselves into trouble early on.
At one stage they were 55 for 6, with Alex Cusack and Trent Johnston the early wicket takers as the likes of Karim Sadiq the Afghanistan captain and the dangerous Najib Ullah (23),were quickly back in the pavilion.
Wickets have continued to fall since then with Paul Stirling and George Dockrell chipping in with wickets of their own and Johnson helping out with a fabulous run out of Samiullah Shenwari help Ireland to the cusp of victory.
Stirling took the final wicket, bowling Dollat Zadran to compete a famous win for the home side.