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Sport Andrew Balbirnie asks for more consistency as Ireland lose ODI opener against Afghanistan

19:00  21 january  2021
19:00  21 january  2021 Source:   newsletter.co.uk

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Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie says his side should target a 3-0 win over Afghanistan in the one-day series starting on Thursday which also counts towards World Cup qualification. Each win in Abu Dhabi will earn 10 World Cup Super League points and Balbirnie says Ireland must aim high.

Batsman Andrew Balbirnie is looking forward to playing in three different formats during Ireland 's matches against Afghanistan in India. "My game plan going out to bat against the Netherlands, after losing Paul [Stirling] early, was simple - give myself a couple of balls and then assess where my

McBrine, who finished with figures of 5-29, ripped through the experienced Afghanistan middle-order, dismissing all of Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib for single figure scores.

a man with a football ball on a field © Andy McBrine produced a career-best ODI performance but it wasn't enough to prevent Ireland losing b...

Debutant Rahmanullah Gurbaz – who was the player of the series in the three-match T20I series between the two sides in 2020 – eventually brought up his maiden ODI hundred in the 35th over, before accelerating to finish on 127, a knock that came at exactly a run per ball.

Rahmanullah’s effort seemed to inspire the Afghanistan lower-order who rallied after the centurion’s dismissal, to take their side from 198-7 to an imposing final total of 287-9 from their 50 overs with the majority of their late innings run-scoring coming off the blade of Rashid Khan, who blasted a 30-ball 55 from No.9.

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More from Sport. Ireland opener Paul Stirling was on 95 with them going well on 173-1 when he was given out to a Rashid Khan ball. After Balbirnie 's dismissal left Ireland on 228-5 in the 37th over, Stuart Thompson and Gary Wilson put on 50 for the next wicket over the next six overs but they both

A superb unbeaten 145 from Andrew Balbirnie helps Ireland to a Balbirnie hit eight sixes - an Ireland record - in his highest ODI score as they chased 257 with an over to The brilliant partnership with Dockrell proved decisive as Ireland finally registered a win over the Afghans at the sixth attempt.

With Ireland 88-4, a rebuilding job was required. Curtis Campher and Lorcan Tucker combined to put on 86 for the fifth wicket before the former eventually fell lbw to Mujeeb Ur Rahman for 39.

Tucker kicked on, though. He soon brought up a second career ODI half-century and raced past his previous career-best ODI score of 56; he eventually fell on 83, stumped trying to use his feet against Rashid as the asking rate climbed.

However, it wasn’t quite enough for Ireland as they eventually fell 16 runs short.

Captain Andrew Balbirnie said: “We need to be more consistent – we had a lot of starts there, including myself.

“Their player kicked on and scored a hundred and played really well. That was really the difference between the two sides.

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More from Sport. Andrew Balbirnie said Ireland are hoping to finish their one-day international tri-series with a strong performance against Bangladesh. Ireland lost to West Indies on Sunday, despite Balbirnie hitting 135 as the team posted their fourth highest ODI tally.

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie is convinced England remain a "dangerous animal" even though they will be without several of their World Cup winners during the Royal London series. Watch the first ODI between England and Ireland live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1.30pm on Thursday.

“But some of our guys are still finding their feet at international cricket and can take a lot of positives. To score 270 on the wicket was good – but in the end it wasn’t enough to win the game today.

“We’ve just got to work as hard as we can off the pitch, and go again.

“We’ll probably have a day off tomorrow with the second and third games being so close together. We need to rest, but we also need to keep our skills up – and we’ll aim to collect 10 or 20 points over the next two games.”

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