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10-Aug-2022 02:16:00 GMT
Ire vs Afg - 1st T20I, Belfast

Ireland to snap winless streak, edge past Afghanistan

Ireland 171 for 3 (Balbirnie 51, Tucker 50) beat Afghanistan 168 for 7 (Ghani 59, McCarthy 3-34, Dockrell 2-7) by seven wickets

Belfast: Ireland earned their first win of the summer as they beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in the first T20 with George Dockrell hitting the winning runs from the penultimate ball.

Usman Ghani top scored for Afghanistan with 59 as they made 168-7 at Stormont.

Irish captain Andrew Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker both hit half centuries before the late drama in the sunshine.

The hosts needed two from the final two balls and Dockrell smashed a boundary as Ireland totalled 171-3.

Ireland's victory came after a run of defeats against India, New Zealand and South Africa.

Ireland came so close to wins over India and the Black Caps and they finally got over the line in the first of five T20s between the teams at the Belfast venue.

Ghani and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (26) put on 34 for the first wicket and the tourists were in good shape at 111-2 before the wickets began to tumble.

Barry McCarthy (3-34) dismissed both openers and spinner Dockrell took 2-7 as Ireland slowed the run rate.

Ibrahim Zadran chipped in with an unbeaten 29 as Afghanistan set a competitive total for the Irish to chase.

Balbirnie was in need of runs and he enjoyed a welcome return to form with 51 from 38 balls, including a maximum and five boundaries.

Paul Stirling (31) joined him for an opening stand of 61 before Tucker came in to score his second half century in three innings.

Balbirnie holed out on 51 while Tucker needed just 32 balls to reach 50 before he was also caught in the deep.

With the score 146-3 after 18 overs it was left to the in-form Harry Tector (25*) and Dockrell (10*) to see Ireland home.

Thirteen was required off the final over from Naveen-ul-Haq and that was whittled down to just two required before Dockrell secured a long-awaited victory.

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