Ireland will look to bounce back after suffering a defeat in the second ODI of the five-match series against Afghanistan. The visitors came up with an all-round performance to beat the hosts.
Riding on the half-centuries from in-form Mohammad Shahzad and Najibullah Zadran, Afghanistan reached a total of 250 runs. They then restricted the Ireland batsmen from getting to that target with some disciplined bowling.
Shahzad has been in very good touch. He will play a crucial role in the remainder of the ODI series as well. If Shahzad scores another half-century against Ireland in the third ODI, he will become the first player from Afghanistan to score 50s in three consecutive innings in the 50-over format.
Afghanistan need not worry much about their bowling as Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran and Mirwais Ashraf have done well.
But Afghanistan coach Lalchand Rajput will be a little worried about his captain Asghar Stanikzai's form with the bat. Stanikzai has been dismissed in single digit scores in seven out of his last eight matches. The captain has to lead from the front if they want to continue yielding positive results from this series.
Meanwhile, Ireland will want their middle-order to step up when they take on Afghanistan in the third ODI at the Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont in Belfast on Thursday. Their middle-order let them down in the previous match. After skipper William Porterfield and Ed Joyce got them off to a good start in the run chase, their middle-order was expected to reach the target, but unfortunately they fell short.
However, Ireland's Kevin O'Brien and Barry McCarthy did a great job in the second ODI. Both O'Brien and McCarthy picked up four wickets each.
Expected playing XI: Ireland: William Porterfield (c), Ed Joyce, John Anderson, Stuart Poytner (wk), Kevin O'Brien, Paul Stirling, Andy McBrine, George Dockrell, Barry McCarthy, Tim Murtagh, Peter Chase.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Asghar Stanikzai (c), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Dawlat Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Shapoor Zadran.
Where to watch live
The third ODI Ireland vs Afghanistan is scheduled to start from 10:45 a.m. local time (3:15 pm IST, 5:45 am EST) start. Unfortunately, there will be no live TV coverage of this match in India.
Afghan TV will telecast the game live in Afghanistan. For the live streaming option click Afghan Play. No channels will broadcast Ireland vs Afghanistan 3rd ODI in UK as well.
For live updates, go to Cricket Ireland's website.