Hazratullah Zazai's blistering half-century set Afghanistan up for a 16-run win against Ireland in a rain-reduced first T20I at Bready.

Zazai, in his second T20I, scored his country's fastest 50 in the format and finished with 74 from 33 deliveries as the tourists posted 160 for seven from their 18 overs.

In reply, Ireland lost regular wickets, with Rashid Khan taking three for 35 as Afghanistan took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Ireland elected to bowl after an hour delay due to rain, but Zazai soon took charge.

The 20-year-old scored 23 runs off the fifth over bowled by Tyrone Kane, including three sixes, the second of which saw him bring up a 22-ball half-century.

He fell in the eighth over when he attempted a sweep but could only edge Simi Singh behind, with the score 87 for one.

Afghanistan reached 140 for two with four overs left but ended 160 for seven as Ireland's bowlers fought back, led by Joshua Little's two for 20.

But the total proved more than enough as Ireland finished 144 for nine, with captain Gary Wilson top-scoring with a 23-ball 34 while George Dockrell ended 22 not out. 

Speaking after the match, Wilson said: "We can actually take a lot of confidence, I thought we played pretty well, particularly the way we came back with the ball.

"Josh Little bowled really well, and that’s why we brought him in with the left arm pace - he will be one for the next few years."

"As for Zazai, that was his second game, we didn’t know much about him. He seemed to hit to all parts.

"But we came back really well – after the start they got, that was a great positive. I thought the boys showed great character."