Friday, 14 August 2020

Shahzad century fires Afghanistan to World Cup warm-up win

BELFAST: Mohammad Shahzad smashed a blistering 101 as Afghanistan fine-tuned their World Cup preparations with a 126-run thrashing of Ireland to draw the one-day international series on Tuesday.

Afghanistan were put in to bat by the hosts in Belfast and Shahzad made them pay with his 87-ball century.

Together with Rahmat Shah, Shahzad put on 150 for the second wicket to help the visitors take control.

Najibullah Zadran added a rapid-fire 60 not out from 33 balls as Afghanistan amassed 305-7 in their 50 overs, a total that set a record for internationals at Stormont s Civil Service Cricket Club.

Ireland never looked likely to threaten Afghanistan s total despite Paul Stirling s 56-ball half century – his fourth successive score of 50 or more.

Gulbadin Naib, who was named Afghanistan s one-day captain last month, was Ireland s chief tormentor.

Naib took 6-43 to record the third-best figures by an Afghanistan bowler in ODI cricket, including the key wickets of Stirling and Gary Wilson, who was Ireland s second highest scorer with 34.

Ireland eventually crumbled to 179 all out as Afghanistan avenged their 72-run defeat in the first game of the two-match series on Sunday.

Afghanistan complete their pre-World Cup schedule with another warm-up against England at The Oval on May 27.

They get their World Cup campaign underway against Australia in Bristol on June 1.

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