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Ireland look to avoid whitewash, improve head-to-head record

09 Mar 2020 CricBuzz

With an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Afghanistan continue to dominate the rivalry against Ireland. Especially in the shortest format with Ireland winless against Afghanistan since 2013 with the head-to-head tally now stretching to 14-3. Ireland's T20I standing globally may have gotten better, but against Afghanistan, they've now lost their last ten contested games.

Rain in the first T20I washed Ireland's hopes just when it looked like they could swing the game in their favour defending 40 off 5 overs, with Afghanistan picking up an 11-run win on DLS. They were outplayed in the second across facets, beaten by 21 runs, with the glaring issue of conceding too many runs in the death. Ireland's bowlers did well in the powerplay to keep Afghanistan to 34 runs in the first six. However, it was in the back-end that they conceded as many as 99 in the last seven overs.

While the bowlers struggled for control, the Irish batsmen's plan against Afghanistan's spinners was clear: to play them out, especially Rashid Khan, which had forced them then to over-hit Mujeeb, resulting in him being among the wickets. Their lack of intent against the spinners is something they will have to address if they are to want to get the better of the opposition that boasts of some of the world's best. Ireland, still, can take some positives from the fact that most of their batsmen got starts. They just need to convert those to get ahead in the game as both sides build towards the T20 World Cup later in the year.

Despite the quick turnaround between games, Ireland will hope to halt the Afghanistan juggernaut in the dead rubber in the final game of the series on Tuesday (March 10).

When: Afghanistan vs Ireland, 3rd T20I, Tuesday, March 10, 14:00 local

Where: Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground, Greater Noida

What to expect: A cloud cover is expected with temperature hovering around 21 degrees. The wicket will be a good one to bat on, so expect a high-scorer.

Team news:

Afghanistan: They look quite settled and are more than likely to go in with the same XI.

Probable XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Karim Janat, Asghar Afghan(c), Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Shapoor Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Ireland: Ireland may play the extra seamer, but they may too go in with the same XI.

Probable XI: Paul Stirling, Kevin O Brien, Andrew Balbirnie(c), Gareth Delany, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker(w), Simi Singh, George Dockrell, Craig Young, Boyd Rankin, Joshua Little


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