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Early wickets lay foundations for Ireland's victory over Afghanistan

213   //    29 Aug 2018, 23:58 IST
balbirnie - CROPPED
Ireland's Andy Balbirnie.

Ireland did the damage early to take their one-day international series with Afghanistan to a decider, winning the second match by three wickets on Wednesday.

The hosts reduced Afghanistan to 16-4 as the tourists' top order faltered at Stormont, but Asghar Afghan's men gallantly saw out the 50 overs to finish on 182-9.

Career-best figures of 4-30 from Tim Murtagh saw him dismiss Mohammad Shahzad (0), Hazratullah Zazai (1) and Gulbadin Naib (7) in the opening five overs.

A repeat of Monday's 29-run triumph never looked on the cards for Afghanistan after that flurry of wickets, although they will have allowed themselves to dream when William Porterfield was bowled by Mujeeb Ur Rahman before Ireland had registered a single run.

But Ireland did not allow themselves to be unsettled by the early loss of their captain, with Andy Balbirnie – who racked up 55 runs in the opening match – putting in another sterling performance to make 60 as Ireland reached their target with 37 balls to spare.

The deciding third ODI takes place in Belfast on Friday.

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