afghanistan cricket

Afghanistan recovered from a top order batting collapse to beat Ireland by 109 runs in the fourth one-day cricket international March 8. (International Cricket Council photo)

DEHRADUN (AP) — Afghanistan recovered from a top order batting collapse to beat Ireland by 109 runs in the fourth one-day cricket international March 8.

Afghanistan leads the series 2-1 with the final match scheduled for March 10.

Half-centuries by Mohammad Nabi (64), captain Asghar Afghan (54), and Rashid Khan (52) lifted Afghanistan to 223 all out after they were 81-6.

Medium-fast bowler Aftab Alam, playing his first ODI since September, then took 4-25 as Ireland was bowled out for 114 in 35.3 overs. The three spinners shared five wickets.

Afghan was run out in a mix-up with Nabi and hurt his shoulder when he collapsed awkwardly at the striker’s end. The Afghanistan captain did not take the field and Rashid led the side in his absence.

Ireland left-arm spinner James Cameron-Dow picked up 3-32 and offspinner Andy McBrine 2-37, but Nabi notched two half-century stands with Rashid and Afghan which took Afghanistan past the 200-run mark.

Nabi shared 50 for the seventh wicket with his skipper, who was run out off a direct throw from George Dockrell. That dropped them to 131-7 in the 32nd over.

But Nabi and Rashid combined for 86 until Nabi holed out in the deep after hitting six boundaries in his 85-ball knock.

Rashid was the last man out in the last over after scoring his fourth ODI half-century that included six boundaries and a six.

“I’m sure another day we could have bowled them out for a lot less, with some luck,” Ireland captain William Porterfield said.

“We lost wickets too regularly after a half decent start. Individual errors cost us with the bat.”

Porterfield and Paul Stirling provided a decent start but Ireland slumped from 31 without loss to 33-3.

Porterfield was out lbw on 21 to Alam, then Mujeeb Ur Rehman got two wickets in one over.

Andy Balbirnie, who scored a career-best 145 not out in the third ODI, perished without scoring, offering a tame return catch to Mujeeb, and Stirling was smartly stumped by Ikram Ali Khil on 11.

Ireland lost its last six wickets for only 32 runs, with Alam clean-bowling top-scorer Kevin O’Brien on 26, and Tim Murtagh for a duck off successive deliveries.

Boyd Rankin avoided the hat trick, but he was last man out on 9, lbw to Nabi.

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