Afghanistan vs Ireland, Second ODI : Preview and Playing XI
Afghanistan showed their quality in the first ODI at the Belfast and their bowlers did not even break a sweat and clearly exposed the chinks in Ireland's batting department.
Now Asghar's men have a chance to add another series triumph to their name when they face Irish side at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast on Wednesday, August 29.
Afghanistan and Ireland have been known for tight contests against each other and this can be proved by the fact that, both teams have won nine times each in the eighteen ODI's they have played so far. While on Irish soil, they have faced each other six times in this format with the scoreline tied on 3-3.
The visitors have been putting up all-round performances and are making better use of the conditions. They have won all the fixtures they have played so far on this tour and so they will be coming into this match high on confidence.
Skipper Asghar Afghan will be very pleased with their bowling effort in the last game as they managed to defend a modest total of 227.
Gulbadin Naib and Hashmatullah Shahidi struck twin half-centuries in the opening game of the series and will be expected to replicate it in second ODI.
While Asghar Afghan has also done well with the bat in the past and him together with Mohammad Nabi who is the team's leading ODI run-getter are the key figures in the middle order.
Afghanistan only concern has been Mohammad Shahzad form, who has not been able to match the expectations so far and the team will need him to provide good starts from the onset.
When it comes to bowlers, Afghans become a force to reckon with. It can be proved by the fact that all bowlers were among wickets in the previous outing.
Where Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam and Nabi took two wickets each. Mujeeb ur Rahman and Gulbadin Main claimed one scalp each.
Expected Playing XI: Asghar Afghan (C), Mohammad Nabi, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hazratullah Zazai, Ihsanullah Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi.
On the flipside, Ireland's bowlers did a pretty good job last time out and kept them in the game by restricting Afghanistan to 227 but their batsmen let them down as they could manage only 198 in the end. Now Men in Green once again find themselves under pressure as they now have to win both the remaining matches if they are to win the series.
Andrew Balbirnie and Gary Wilson were only performers in the first ODI. Balbirnie top-scored for Ireland with 55 runs, Wilson scored a steady 38 from 50 balls and the team will need these two to fire in next game as well.
Except these two the Irish team will also bank on the likes of Skipper William Porterfield and Paul Stirling to play big knocks and came out thrashing at the Irish bowlers from the beginning.
Tim Murtagh was the pick of the lot with 4/31 in 10 overs. While Boyd Rankin took 3/44 in his quota of ten overs and once again it will be up to these two to provide the early breakthroughs.
Expected Playing XI: William Porterfield (C), Gary Wilson, Andrew Balbirnie, Simi Singh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin, Peter Chase and Paul Stirling.