Naveen-ul-Haq and Mujeeb Ur Rahman played key roles to restrict Ireland to 259
Afghanistan 260 for 3 (Rahmat 103*, Shahidi 82) beat Ireland 259 for 9 (Stirling 128, Campher 47, Naveen 4-42, Mujeeb 3-46) by seven wickets
Better support with bat and ball ensured Rahmat Shah‘s unbeaten 103 trumped Paul Stirling‘s 128 as Afghanistan took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. A third-wicket partnership of 184 between Rahmat and Hashmatullah Shahidi carried Afghanistan to a seven-wicket win with 28 balls remaining, after Ireland had set them a target of 260.
The only comparable partnership for Ireland was a fourth-wicket stand of 106 between Stirling and Curtis Campher, which came up in just 100 balls and featured excellent use of the sweep from both batsmen, particularly off Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan. The partnership left Ireland in good shape to mount a slog-overs charge, but they lost steam following the dismissal of Campher, caught at short extra-cover off Rashid. They only made 49 off the last 51 balls of their innings, and lost five wickets while doing so.
Three of those wickets, including that of Stirling in the 45th over, went to the fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq, who finished with figures of 4 for 42 from his ten overs. Afghanistan’s other bowling star was Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who picked up three wickets including the key dismissals of Kevin O’Brien and Andy Balbirnie with the new ball, which left Ireland 20 for 2 at one stage. Stirling began rebuilding the innings in the company of Harry Tector, who made a watchful 24, before Campher joined him in the 25th over of the innings.
Stirling celebrated his hundred – his 11th in ODIs, equalling William Porterfield’s Ireland record – by paying tribute to Roy Torrens, the former Ireland player and team manager who died yesterday, pointing to the sky after removing his helmet. Stirling had tweeted that Torrens’ passing was “crushing news”, describing him as “Irish cricket to the very core but an even better man”
Afghanistan’s chase began brightly, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz following up his debut hundred in the first ODI by clattering 31 off 26 balls, including two sixes off Simi Singh’s offspin. Barry McCarthy and Campher struck in successive overs thereafter, though, to leave Afghanistan in a bit of bother at 48 for 2 in the ninth over.
Rahmat and Shahidi counterattacked, hitting four fours and a six between them in their first four full overs together. Shahidi then slipped into a lower gear even as Rahmat kept finding the boundary with pristine drives to keep the required rate well under control. He brought up his half-century off 49 balls, at the start of the 23rd over.
It took Shahidi another ten overs to get to that milestone, off 68 balls, but having done so he opened out significantly, hitting Craig Young for back-to-back fours in the 38th over to bring up Afghanistan’s 200, and repeating the dose off Simi in the 42nd over before holing out to long-off to fall 18 short of a century.
There was no such trouble for Rahmat, who brought up the landmark for the fifth time in his ODI career, before giving a chance, put down at point by a diving Tector off McCarthy. By then Afghanistan only needed 21, and their captain Asghar Afghan ensured they’d finish in a hurry, hitting McCarthy for 6, 6, 4 in the 45th over and ending up unbeaten on 21 off 13 balls.
While Afghanistan have now wrapped up the series with a game to spare, the final fixture on Tuesday will not be treated as a dead-rubber, with 10 World Cup Super League points still on offer.
PSL 2021 – PCB allows Daren Sammy and Wahab Riaz to reintegrate with Peshawar Zalmi | Cricket
The PCB has allowed Wahab Riaz and Daren Sammy to reintegrate with the Peshawar Zalmi set-up without completing the three-day quarantine period, as the board had announced earlier. The breach of Covid-19 protocols happened when the two met franchise owner Javed Afridi outside the team’s bio-security bubble.
Sammy, the coach of the team for the 2021 edition of the PSL, and Riaz, the team’s captain, were required to undergo the quarantine as well as return two negative tests within that timeframe before being allowed to be with their team-mates in accordance with the board’s protocols. The breach took place on Saturday, but the PCB allowed the two to return to the Zalmi fold after they assured the board that they would abide the tournament’s standard operating protocols going forward.
“The team has offered its regrets to the PCB on Friday’s breach and has thanked the PSL ETC for accepting their appeal,” the board said in a statement on Sunday. “They have further assured protocols will be followed and respected as everyone wants the PSL to succeed.”
The breach came three days after the PCB had briefed players, support staff and match officials to “religiously follow” all Covid-19 protocols. Each PSL franchise has its own Covid-19 compliance officer, who is responsible for testing, implementation of protocols, sanitisation, and players’ temperature checks. The whole process is bring regulated by the event doctor.
On Saturday, the PCB had said, “The PCB is disappointed that two members of one of the sides showed carelessness and violated the bio-secure bubble protocols by coming into contact with a person who was not part of the bubble. As reiterated previously, the health and safety of all individuals associated with Pakistan Super League 6 is of paramount importance to the PCB and the event.
“All players, player support personnel, match officials and family members are once again reminded to diligently follow the PCB Covid-19 Protocols as the PCB will not allow anyone to affect the integrity and credibility of the tournament.”
More to follow…
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Kane Williamson admits missing England Tests for IPL ‘not the preferred thing’
“We’re waiting for the final dates, but the ideal scenario is to be available and around for all that cricket”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has admitted that potentially missing the Test matches against England in early June due to complete the IPL is not his preferred option but that it’s another case of the ideal scenario rarely playing out in the current climate.
It has yet to be confirmed whether there will be a direct clash between the knockout stage of the IPL and the two-match series that will be played at Lord’s and Edgbaston between June 2 and 14. The England series will be just before the World Test Championship final, beginning on June 18, which New Zealand are guaranteed to be at.
However, it is expected that the IPL will stretch into early June and NZC CEO David White has said that a “pragmatic” approach will be taken. NZC has long allowed their contracted players free rein to appear in the IPL and to date it has never meant any of them missing a Test match, although on the 2015 tour of England players arrived just a few days before the opening game.
But even if the dates aren’t a direct clash it may not be as simple as quickly flying in from India depending on any Covid-19 quarantine protocols that are required.
“It’s certainly not the preferred thing,” Williamson said of the potential clash. “I know when plans were put in place that wasn’t the idea then, but as we’ve seen, you can make plans in this day in age and very rarely do they go to plan.
“For us it’s being able to adapt as quickly as possible, we still have to wait and see when dates are finalised to truly know what is happening before any decision is made but the ideal scenario is to be available and around for all that cricket. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Other first-choice Test players Trent Boult (Mumbai Indians) and Kyle Jamieson (Royal Challengers Bangalore) also have IPL deals as does quick bowler Lockie Ferguson (Kolkata Knight Riders) who could push for a place.
Williamson and Boult have recently spoken about expecting to be on the road for up to 10 months this year. Once the home season is completed they will head straight to the IPL before moving onto England (Williamson also has a deal in the Hundred) then New Zealand have tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan lined up ahead of the T20 World Cup in India.
Whenever a player returns to New Zealand they will be required to go through two weeks managed isolation under the government’s Covid-19 protocols.
The two-Test series against England has been a late addition to the calendar and the matches are not part of the World Test Championship.
Depending on which franchises make the IPL knockouts there could be a number of players missing the Tests with the ECB having also said they will allow their players to play the whole tournament unless they have not been in the XI.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
‘Need written assurances from India’ for T20 World Cup visas
“Legally and constitutionally it’s our right to participate in the tournament and nobody can remove us from it”
Ehsan Mani, the PCB chairman, has said that Pakistan will demand the T20 World Cup to be shifted out of India if Pakistan do not get written assurances from the host country on the safety and visas of every stakeholder. Mani said that the ICC in its contingency plan made UAE a back-up option, if India failed to host the tournament for any reason later this year in.
The upcoming T20 World Cup was originally scheduled to be held in Australia but due to the pandemic, the cycle had been revised giving India rights to host the 2021 event while Australia have been asked to host the 2022 edition. Given the strained relationship between India and Pakistan, the ICC has been working together with the boards to obtain assurances for Pakistan’s participation.
“Our government has never told us that we can’t play (in India),” Mani told reporters in Lahore. “We have agreed with the ICC that we are going to participate and we can’t contravene that. At the ICC level, I have clearly said we need a written assurance from the India government that not only our team and squad’s visas, we also need visas for fans, journalists and the board officials, but that’s also all written in the ICC host agreement and according to that we have put our demand.
“ICC has also been a bit loose on it as they told us that it will be done by Dec 31, 2020, but it didn’t happen. I again raised it in January and in February directly with the ICC chairman, then I talked to ICC management and I told them that I need a clear decision by March. They are saying that by end of March. If it doesn’t come, I will demand the shifting of the event from India to UAE.”
Cricketing ties between India and Pakistan have had their ups and downs since the two countries first met in the Delhi Test of 1952. The relationship over the last seven decades has been impaired with neither side touring the other country for a full series since 2007 when Pakistan last visited India. Bilateral ties between the two countries were snapped after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 until a limited-overs series was played in 2012-13, though India and Pakistan have faced each other in international tournaments. The sides last met at the 2019 World Cup in England.
Mani also brought up how the International Olympic Committee had suspended India in 2019 after Pakistani shooters were not issued visas for the World Cup held in New Delhi in February 2019. That sanction, however, was lifted after the union government promised that all participating athletes would be given a visa, and that it wouldn’t be judged politically. Mani called for this issue to be sorted too, and for cricket to stay out of politics.
On a separate outstanding issue, the ICC has told the BCCI that it reserves the right to take away the 2021 men’s T20 World Cup from India after the board failed to secure a tax exemption for the tournament from the government.
“It’s already been decided that if India can’t hold the event it will be shifted to UAE,” Mani said. “Legally and constitutionally it’s our right to participate in the tournament and nobody can remove us from the tournament and the ICC chairman does realise this.
“Unfortunately, it’s unhealthy that especially cricket in India is being linked with politics. On a personal level, I have no problems with Sourav Ganguly and he is quite open about it, he wants to organise the tournament in India and I have no problems with it too if he can convince every stakeholder. But ICC has backup plans and if they (India) can’t do it, it will be held at an alternative venue.”
The 2020 edition of the Asia Cup, which was postponed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, is also slotted for June this year. The tournament was originally meant to be played in Pakistan but PCB swapped the hosting rights with Sri Lanka’s 2022 edition as the PCB cannot feasibly host a tournament involving India around the growing tension between two countries. It was to feature the four subcontinent sides along with Afghanistan and an Asian qualifier. “The fate of the tournament hinges upon the qualification of India in the ICC Test championship. If they do (qualify) then its impossible this year and then we have to take it to 2023.”
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent
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