Afghanistan will begin their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 preparations in the two-match ODI series against Ireland seeking to get to their best combinations ahead of the mega event that is only 12 days away.
Again, the onus will be on Afghanistan’s biggest match-winner, Rashid Khan. The leg-spinner has an exemplary stats against the Irish, 46 wickets in the bag in 21 ODIs with his best bowling returns of 6 for 43.
A hundred and a fifty in the last five knocks, Andrew Balbirnie has been Ireland’s main-man with the bat. Above that, Balbirnie averages 40.71 against Afghanistan in ODIs to boost his confidence further.
Last five ODIs (recent first)
Ireland – L L L L W
Afghanistan – W W L W L
Pitch conditions and venue stats – Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont in Belfast doesn’t have a reputation of a high-scoring venue with average first innings score of 205.
Afghanistan TEAM NEWS
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi can get rest after a gruelling Indian Premier League season.
There will be a toss-up for three places, between Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Aftab Alam, Noor Ali Zadran and Hazratullah Zazai, and Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hassan.
Ireland TEAM NEWS
Ireland have added uncapped right-arm seamer Tyrone Kane to the squad, with left-armer Josh Little been given rest. There are reports of Tyrone Kane to make a debut on Sunday.
AFGH Playing 11: Gulbadin Naib (C), Mohammad Shahzad (WK), Noor Ali Zadran/Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Dawlat Zadran/Hamid Hassan, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman/Aftab Alam.
Afghanistan ODI Squad: Gulbadin Naib (C), Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, CRashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Aftab Alam and Hamid Hassan
IRE Playing 11: Wiliam Porterfield (C), Kevin O’Brien, Paul Stirling, James McCollum, Andrew Balbirnie, Mark Adair, Gary Wilson (WK), George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin, Barry McCarthy and Tim Murtagh.
Ireland ODI Squad: William Porterfield (C), Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, Tim Murtagh, Lorcan Tucker, Gary Wilson, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Mark Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, George Dockrell, Tyrone Kane and Andrew McBrine.
CAPTAIN Choices – Rashid Khan, Andrew Balbirnie, Paul Stirling