Afghanistan opt to bowl; Rashid, Nabi and Mujeeb return

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May
19

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Afghanistan opted to bowl in the first of two ODIs against Ireland in Belfast, their tune-up series before they get to the 2019 World Cup. Having undergone a camp in South Africa and played against Scotland, Afghanistan have arrived in Ireland with a full-strength squad.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who has recovered from a finger injury sustained in the IPL, will be the third spinner in their XI alongside Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. Rashid and Nabi, too, missed the Scotland game because of their commitments with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

This is Afghanistan’s second ODI following their sudden captaincy switch that had Gulbadin Naib replacing Asghar Afghan at the helm.

As for Ireland, they didn’t make the final of their home tri-series against Bangladesh and West Indies, but have two more opportunities to showcase their abilities and, perhaps, even topple a World Cup-bound side.

Ireland made two changes. Tim Murtagh and Andy McBrine replaced Barry McCarthy and the injured Josh Little. This meant they featured two spinners, with McBrine joining the experienced George Dockrell.

Ireland: 1 Paul Stirling, 2 James McCollum, 3 Andrew Balbirnie, 4 William Porterfield (capt), 5 Kevin O’Brien, 6 Mark Adair, 7 Gary Wilson (wk), 8 George Dockrell, 9 Tim Murtagh, 10 Boyd Rankin, 11 Andy McBrine

Afghanistan: 1 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2 Hazratullah Zazai, 3 Rahmat Shah, 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi, 5 Asghar Afghan, 6 Gulbadin Naib (capt), 7 Mohammad Nabi, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Dawlat Zadran, 10 Aftab Alam, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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