AFG vs IRE: Rahmanullah Gurbaz Century Helps Afghanistan Beat Ireland in First ODI
AFG vs IRE: Rahmanullah Gurbaz Century Helps Afghanistan Beat Ireland in First ODI
Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored his sixth ODI century to help Afghanistan beat Ireland by 35 runs in the first one-day international.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz posted his sixth one-day international century as Afghanistan eased to a 35-run win over Ireland in the opening one-day international in Sharjah on Thursday.

Put into bat, Afghanistan posted 310-5 in their 50 overs with Ibrahim Zadran making 60 in an opening partnership of 150 with Gurbaz who made 121.

Ireland slipped to 34-3 before Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker added 173 for the fourth wicket. Tector went on to make 138, his fifth ODI hundred, but as wickets fell at the other end, Ireland could only reach 275-8.

The night belonged to the 22-year-old Gurbaz, however, whose first ODI century came on debut against Ireland in Abu Dhabi in 2021.

He settled in quickly, striking eight fours and six sixes from his 117 balls. Only Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Quentin de Kock have scored more men’s ODI hundreds before turning 23 than Gurbaz.

Down the order Mohammad Nabi clubbed 40 from 27 balls before skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi helped himself to an unbeaten 50 from 33 balls as 95 runs coming in the final 10 overs.

Theo van Woerkom was the pick of the Irish bowlers taking 3-55 from his 10 overs, including both openers, a lovely arm ball accounting for Gurbaz.

Ireland’s reply was quickly in trouble as captain Paul Stirling feathered a ball from Azmatullah Omarzai to the wicketkeeper.

He was quickly followed by Andy Balbirnie and Curtis Campher who were both bowled by Fazalhaq Farooqi to leave Ireland on 34-3 at the start of the eleventh over.

That brought together Tector and Tucker who gave Ireland real hopes of a surprise win.

Tector was outstanding, lacing the ball through the covers and nullifying the spinners although he survived a chance on 79 when Gulbadin Naib dropped a sharp return catch.

His 100 came from 117 balls and, in spite of feeling a bit of cramp and seeing his partners depart at the other end, continued on to 138 before a tired shot in the last over saw his end.

Tucker also enjoyed himself, going to his 50 with a mighty six off Noor Ahmed which flew out of the ground and landed in the road outside, much to the bemusement of a passing pedestrian.

His 85 came off 76 balls, the last of which found the edge to give Farooqi his third wicket. He would finish with 4-51 while 16-year-old debutant Allah Ghazanfar took 0-34 from his six overs.

Tector and Tucker were the only Irish batsmen to reach double figures and once Tucker was gone the innings subsided.

The match, however, sets up Saturday’s second match in the three-game series.

The teams will also play three T20Is as part of the build-up for the World Cup in the West Indies and USA which starts in June.

Ireland won the one-off Test last week, their first ever in the longest format of the game.

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