Afghanistan and Ireland faced each other in the ICC Intercontinental Cup first-class match at Greater Noida Sports Complex ground in India. The two teams are in contention of getting Test status as disclosed by the ICC and this tournament is a stepping stone for both the teams to impress the ICC big-wigs.
Afghanistan won the toss and batted first on a placid wicket and Mohammad Shehzad gave them a perfect start with a brilliant 85. However the heroes of the match were captain Asghar Stanikzai and keeper Afsar Zazai, both of whom scored brilliant hundreds. Stanikzai made 145 and Zazai made 103* and both got support from Rahmat Shah (46) and Nasir Jamal (73). Afghanistan scored a massive 537/8.
Ireland was supposed to give a hard fight to Afghan team, given their player’s first-class experience with different counties. But apart from Andy Balbirnie (62) and John Anderson (61*), no one else really applied themselves and played a anchoring innings. Rashid Khan picked up 99/5 and destroyed Irish batting. Ireland folded up for 261 runs and was asked to follow-on.
Instead of improving on their performance in first innings, Ireland folded up for an embarrassing 104; with highest score being 15 runs. Mohammad Nabi ran through the Irish batting with 6/40 and Rashid Khan picked 3/44 and match figures of 8/143.
Asghar Stanikzai was named the Man of the match for his brilliant century.
Afghanistan 537/8 dec.(A. Stanikzai 145; G. Dockrell 3/160) def. Ireland 261 (A Balbirnie 61*; R. Khan 5/99) & 104 (Niall O’Brien 15, M Nabi 6/40) by an innings and 172 runs.