Ireland clinched their first home T20 International win of the season by beating Afghanistan by seven wickets in Belfast. George Dockrell hit the winning boundary off the penultimate ball to lift Ireland onto 171-3 after they were set a target of 169.
Afghanistan’s total of 168-7 had been boosted by 30 runs off the final two overs, with Ibrahim Zadran clubbing 29 not out off 18 balls. But Ireland openers Paul Stirling (31 off 29 balls) and skipper Andrew Balbirnie (51 off 38) set their side on their way, putting on 61 off 7.3 overs for the first wicket.
Wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker kept Ireland on course with 50 off 32 deliveries and it was left to Harry Tector (25 not out) and Dockrell (10 not out) to carry them home. Earlier, Dockrell took 2-7 and Barry McCarthy 3-34 while the Afghans’ top-scorer, opener Usman Ghani, struck two sixes and six fours in his 59 off 42 balls.
The two sides will meet again on Thursday at the same Civil Services Cricket Club venue in Stormont for the second time in their five-match series.
Zimbabwe had already clinched the series by winning the first two games but was bowled out for 151 at Harare Sports Club in 32.2 overs while chasing Bangladesh’s 256-9
A batting-friendly pitch still proved too much trouble for Zimbabwe as Bangladesh got a 105-run consolation win in their third and final one-day international on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe had already clinched the series by winning the first two games but was bowled out for 151 at Harare Sports Club in 32.2 overs while chasing Bangladesh’s 256-9. Opener Anamul Haque made 76 from 71 balls for Bangladesh and No. 6 Afif Hossain was 85 not out from 81 to set up the visitors’ total.
It wasn’t a big score on a normally batting-friendly pitch but the hosts didn’t take advantage. Zimbabwe lost wickets in the first and second overs, and two more in the sixth over, to slip to 18-4.
At 83-9, Zimbabwe’s last two batters rallied with a 68-run stand — the second-best partnership of the match — as Richard Ngarava made 34 not out and Victor Nyauchi scored 26.The late surge was entertaining but Zimbabwe easily fell short.
Bangladesh’s tour was still a success for Zimbabwe under new coach Dave Houghton, who was brought in for another spell in charge after Zimbabwe lost six straight ODI and T20 games at home against Afghanistan in June.