After the ODI series between the United Arab Emirates and Ireland was curtailed to a two-match series, which ended 1-1, Ireland will stay back in the country to play Afghanistan in a three-match ODI series, starting this Thursday. All three matches are scheduled to be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The Series was initially scheduled to be held from the 18th of January to the 23rd of the same month. But few issues in the issuing of visas and the 10-day quarantine protocol meant that the series had to be rescheduled.
Afghanistan last played an ODI series back in 2019 and interestingly the opponents were the same, the only difference being the venue. The series was planned as a warm-up going into the 2019 ICC World Cup. Afghanistan managed to showcase a decent effort and drew the 2-matches series,1-1.
Ireland were blown away by the Emirates players in the first match of the recently concluded series but Andy Balbarine and Co. bounced back well in the last match to hammer the UAE team by 112 runs and in turn level the series.
The series will also be part of the 2020-2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. This will be the first series for the Afghanis in their campaign of the WC Super League. While this will mark the second for Ireland.
Can the Irish carry on the winning momentum? Or will the No.1 ranked T20I bowler- Rashid Khan spin his team to victory?
Match Toss Time: 09:00 Local (10:30 IST)
Match Start Time: 09:30 Local (11:00 IST)
Match Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
The conditions are well in favor of cricket. The 10 percent precipitation does not threaten the game in any way. The temperature is expected to be hovering in the 23-18 degree range and the humidity at the peak is likely to touch the 66 percent mark.
The same venue was used for the series between UAE and Ireland and from what we saw in the first ODI, the pitch was an absolute belter. The last ODI though was a low-scoring clash but the innings of UAE did suggest the pitch had a lot of assistance for the spinners. The team winning the toss should be looking to bat first as the teams batting first have won 30 times out of the 47 matches played.
Afghanistan have made some bold changes in their squad by dropping Hazratullah Zazai and Samiullah Shenwari. The two players have been a permanent face on the side but it is likely to their recent form issues that the management has taken the call.
Two new additions to the side are Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who showcased great skills in the recently concluded Lanka Premier League, and the other one being Azmatullah Omarzai. Gurbaz is expected to take the responsibility behind the stumps. While 20-year old Omarzai adds great value to the pace attack.
Ireland on the other hand is not expected to make many changes to their side to what they featured in the last ODI match against UAE. The Indian origin-Irish all-rounder Simi Singh showed great character by scoring a clinical 54 and picked up 5 wickets for just 10 runs, ended up with figures of 10-4-10-5. His brilliant bowling performance is now the best by an Irish player in ODI history.
As per the latest reports, David Delany, who had to return home due to a knee injury has been replaced by all-rounder Shane Getkate.
Probable Playing Xl
Afghanistan (AGF): Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Usman Ghani, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan (C), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib/Azmatullah Omarzai, Naveen-ul-Haq
Ireland (IRE): Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien, Andy Balbirnie (C), Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (WK), Curtis Campher, Craig Young, Simi Singh, Andy McBrine, Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy
AGF vs IRE Fantasy Team
Rahmatullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Paul Stirling, Andy Balbirine, Mohammad Nabi, Simi Singh, Curtis Campher, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, Barry McCarthy
Captain Picks: Rashid Khan (AFG), Simi Singh (IRE)
Vice-captain Picks: Paul Stirling (IRE), Mohammad Nabi (AFG)
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