Noida, Mar 10 : Gareth Delany (37 and 2/21) stood out for Ireland before Kevin O'Brien struck Rashid Khan for a last-ball six in the Super Over to help Ireland register their first T20I win over Afghanistan in more than six years. This was Ireland's first T20I win over Afghanistan since their 68-run triumph during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier in November 2013, after which they had been clean swept in each of the four bilateral series, before losing the first two games of the ongoing one.
At 60/1 in the ninth over, Afghanistan looked set to achieve the 143-run target to complete a 3-0 whitewash. That start was primarily brought about by opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who struck three fours and as many sixes during his 29-ball 42. However, Gareth Delany, who had top-scored for Ireland earlier in the day, removed both Rahmanullah and his opening partner Usman Ghani with his leg-breaks in the same over, to bring his side back into the contest.
Karim Janat departed for a quickfire 17 and skipper Asghar Afghan (32) held firm before Rashid Khan struck 14 off six balls to push the game into a Super Over. Craig Young, the right-arm quick showed great accuracy in the super over, as all-rounder Mohammad Nabi and Rahmanullah managed just eight runs off six balls. In reply, Paul Stirling struck a four off Rashid Khan to put his team ahead of the game, but was trapped leg-before a ball later to pull the game back into the balance. A dot followed by a single brought the equation down to three required off the last ball, and O'Brien lofted Rashid high over his head as the ball crept just above the long-off fielder to seal the game for Ireland. Earlier, Ireland lost opener Paul Stirling and skipper Andy Balbirnie within the first three overs after opting to bat.
Stirling was deceived by a slower one to fall for a four-ball duck, while Balbirnie's stumps were shattered by an in-dipper, both falling to medium pacer Naveen-ul-Haq. O'Brien (26) and Delany began the rescue act, adding 62 in 6.5 overs, before Qais Ahmad weaved his magic to get rid of O'Brien, who skied one to Rashid Khan at long-on to give the youngster his maiden T20I wicket. Delany followed suit in the next over, falling to Rashid, to leave Ireland at 80/4 in the 11th over. There were no major contributions thereafter, barring Harry Tector, whose 22-ball 31 took the total to 142/8 at the end of 20 overs. Naveen-ul-Haq and Qais bagged three wickets a piece for Afghanistan. Brief score: Afghanistan - 142/7 Ireland - 142/8 .(UNI)