Ireland cricket team facing huge task to win ICup clash with Afghanistan

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Updated: March 29, 2017
Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan’s five-wicket haul has left Ireland facing an uphill task if they are to salvage anything from their ICup clash with Afghanistan.
The teenage leg-spinner yet again wreaked havoc with the Irish line-up taking 5 for 54 as Ireland collapsed from 123 for 1 to 170 for 7 at the close of play on the second day.
Andrew Balbirnie (62) and Ed Joyce (45) had shared a second wicket stand of 117 after the early wicket of William Porterfield – one of four lbw decisions to go in Afghanistan’s favour in a day which offered no shortage of controversy.
Mohammed Nabi was at the centre of one of the main talking points – claiming a catch at second slip, when he picked the ball up off the ground after dropping an Andrew Balbirnie edge.
Earlier, Afsar Zazai had benefitted from a reprieve by the umpires when he edged a Peter Chase delivery to Niall O’Brien – the umpires uncertain whether the ball had carried.
Zazai went on to score his maiden first-class century, sharing a 9th wicket century stand with Dawlat Zadran as Afghanistan piled on the runs scoring an imposing 537 for 8 declared.
Balbirnie struck 9 boundaries in a fluent 62, but his dismissal by Zahir Khan opened the door for Rashid Khan to weave his magic.
Ed Joyce, Niall O’Brien and George Dockrell all went lbw to the teenager, while Gary Wilson went caught behind.
The final wicket to fall was Paul Stirling – batting at the unfamiliar position of 8 after being off the field with a hand injury – who was bowled by a superb delivery from Rashid.
Ireland resume the 3rd day 367 runs in arrears, requiring another 217 runs if they are to avoid the follow-on target.
ICC INTERCONTINENTAL CUP, Greater Noida, Day 2 of 4
Afghanistan 537/8 dec (138.5 overs; A Stanikzai 145, A Zazai 103*, M Shahzad 85, N Jamal 73, G Dockrell 3-160, J Anderson 2-92, A McBrine 2-98)
Ireland 170/7 (51 overs; A Balbirnie 62, E Joyce 45, Rashid Khan 5-54)

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