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Harry Tector’s superb innings helped Ireland to a comfortable victory
Afghanistan 111 (18.4 overs): Ishaq 32, Nabi 25; White 4-20, Little 3-18, McCarthy 2-14
Ireland 149-6- (20 overs): Tector 56*, Stirling 25, Balbirnie 22; Rashid 3-19, Kharote 2-16
Ireland win by 38 runs
Full scorecard

Harry Tector hit a superb 56 and Ben White claimed four wickets as Ireland defeated Afghanistan by 38 runs in the first of three Twenty20 matches.

Tector’s fifth T20 half-century helped Ireland to 149-6 in the United Arab Emirates.

White took four wickets and Josh Little a hat-trick as Afghanistan fell 38 runs short.

“It was a fantastic performance, a real team performance,” said Ireland captain Paul Stirling.

After losing the one-day international series 2-0, Stirling added: “It’s no mean feat beating Afghanistan. I know it’s not necessarily their home soil, but they play a huge amount of cricket here.

“We’ve got to put this behind us again and see if we can win a series because it will probably only get tougher, and we’ll expect Afghanistan to keep improving as well.”

Ireland took to the crease first in Sharjah as Andrew Balbirnie and Stirling built up an opening partnership.

Balbirnie was first to be dismissed when he was caught by Rahmanullah Gurbaz on 22, and Lorcan Tucker was next to fall on four in the seventh over.

Returning captain Rashid Khan inflicted a quick-fire double when Stirling was caught by Ibrahim Zadran, and the spinner bowled Curtis Campher first ball.

However, Tector’s stand was crucial and that allowed Ireland to end their 20 overs at 149-6.

Ireland landed an early blow when Mark Adair removed Gurbaz with the very first ball of the innings and Little struck twice in the second over to remove Sediqullah Atal and then Azmatullah Omarzai, to leave Afghanistan struggling at 4-3.

Wickets for White and Barry McCarthy restricted Afghanistan to 50-5 inside nine overs, before the former dismissed Ijaz Ahmadzai and Kharote with back-to-back balls and then got rid of Mohammad Nabi.

Little returned to claim his hat-trick when he got the better of the talismanic Rashid, who was making his return from a back injury. That wicket put Ireland in control and McCarthy struck the final blow to leave Afghanistan all out for 111 with eight balls to spare.

The second T20 takes place at the same venue on Sunday before Monday’s third and final match.

#Fantastic #Ireland #beat #Afghanistan #T20 #opener

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