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Heartbreak for Ireland as Phil Simmons' Afghanistan beat them to final Cricket World Cup place

Graham Ford’s side were held to just 209 runs in today’s must-win match.

Image: ICC

Updated Mar 23rd 2018, 3:49 PM

Ireland 209/7

Afghanistan 213/5 (49.1 overs)

- Afghanistan win by five wickets

IRELAND’S CRICKET WORLD Cup bid ended in heartbreak today as Afghanistan won their ‘win and you’re in’ final qualifier by five wickets.

After winning the toss in Harare and choosing to bat first, Graham Ford’s side were held to just 209/7, leaving their opponents to chase down a very manageable target of 210.

And although Ireland did slow Afghanistan’s run chase in the second half of a tense innings, captain Asghar Stanikzai clipped away the final four runs with five balls to spare.

It sparked wild celebrations for the Associate nation, who are coached by former Ireland boss Phil Simmons, as they secured the tenth and final place at next year’s World Cup in England and Wales.

Ireland’s opening partnership of William Porterfield and Paul Stirling started slowly, and had 53 runs on the board when Porterfield was dismissed in the 16th over.

Stirling eventually put up an individual tally of 55 before he was run out by Najibullah Zadran, leaving Ireland on 121/3.

Niall O’Brien was caught out for 36 shortly afterwards, and despite Kevin O’Brien’s best efforts in the middle order, Ireland couldn’t manage any better than 209.

“We were probably 25 runs short,” captain William Porterfield said. “Then again, in games like this we can’t fault anyone.

“We had opportunities but we lost three games. We had some key moments but we could not take them.”

Gavin Cooney
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