A brilliant unbeaten partnership of 86 runs between veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran ensured Afghanistan overcome an early struggle to take a lead of 1-0 in the three-match Islamic Bank of Afghanistan T20I Cup.
Opting to bat first, Ireland managed to score 132 with the loss of six wickets with George Dockrell scoring 34 off 28. Dockrell was given a good support by wicket-keeper bastman SW Poynter who contributed with 31 runs. The spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb ur Rahman shared five wickets between them for Afghanistan.
What seemed like a relatively lower target of 133 in the shortest format of the game, the Irish bowlers took five wickets in regular intervals to make the chase difficult for the Afghan batsmen. Afghanistan were 50 for 5 in the eighth over before Najibullah Zadran came to join Mohammad Nabi at the crease; the pair added 86 off 72 balls to take their side home with four balls to spare and give Afghanistan their eight consecutive T20I victory.
Mohammad Nabi was declared player of the match for his valuable all-round performance which included two crucial wickets of Paul Stirling and Simi Singh as well as a match-winning unbeaten knock of 49 runs.
The second T20I match of the series is scheduled to be played on Saturday 23rd February.