Seb Daly/SPORTSFILE Kevin O'Brien and Tim Murtagh during today's game in Belfast.
Ireland record much-needed win over World Cup-bound Afghanistan
Graham Ford’s side take a 1-0 lead in their series up north.

IRELAND RECORDED A much-needed victory, their first since March, over Afghanistan in Belfast today to inject life into a faltering international summer after a run of poor results.

After losing to England, West Indies and Bangladesh in Dublin this month, Graham Ford’s side were in desperate need of a positive performance and result on Sunday as they headed north to Belfast for the start of their one-day series against familiar foes Afghanistan. 

And chasing 211 to win at Stormont, Afghanistan — who are preparing for the upcoming World Cup — were dismissed for 138 after losing their last six wickets for just 44 runs.

Mark Adair was their chief tormentor with figures of 4-19, while Boyd Rankin took 3-40 for the hosts as they claimed a confidence-boosting 72-run victory.

Afghanistan had given themselves a chance of a win as they bowled out Ireland for 210 after captain Gulbadin Naib won the toss and elected to field.

The visitors’ bowling attacked sought to use the seam-friendly conditions to make early in-roads.

The loss of James McCollum and the in-form Andy Balbirnie, both dismissed by Dawlat Zadran for four, had Ireland set back on their heels at 35-2.

Paul Stirling and William Porterfield stabilised the Ireland innings as the pair shared a 99-run third wicket partnership.

Stirling (71 from 94 balls) continued his rich vein of form, having scored 77 and 130 in his last two innings.

Ireland captain Porterfield (53 from 83 balls) scored his second consecutive half-century after registering 93 in his last outing against Bangladesh last Wednesday.

But Aftab Alam and Zadran each took three wickets to keep the Irish score down.

Tim Murtagh triggered Afghanistan’s struggles with the bat by taking the first two wickets and leaving the tourists on 19-2.

Afghanistan’s hopes faded when a fifth-wicket partnership between Asghar Afghan (29) and Mohammad Nabi (27) came to an end.

The teams will clash again in the second and final match of the series on Tuesday.

One-Day International, Belfast:

  • Ireland 210 (48.5 overs; P Stirling 71, W Porterfield 53; A Alam 3-28)
  • Afghanistan 138 (35.4 overs; A Afghan 29; M Adair 4-19, B Rankin 3-40)

Ireland won by 72 runs 

- © AFP 2019 

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