Asghar Stanikzai
Asghar Stanikzai has marshalled the Afghanistan side impressively.IANS

Afghanistan will square off against Ireland in the first ODI of the five-match series at the Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont in Belfast on Sunday.

Having won the two-match series against Scotland recently, Asghar Stanikzai and co. will be confident when they run into an Irish side led by William Porterfield.

Ireland were recently outplayed by Sri Lanka at home. Porterfield's side lost both the ODIs and they were outclassed in all the departments. The skipper will want his players to step up to the occasion when they run into a confident Afghanistan side.

Stanikzai has marshalled this Afghanistan cricket team brilliantly in the recent past and has proved time and again that they are here to stay. They were the only team in ICC World T20 2016, who handed a defeat to the ultimate champions West Indies. 

Click here for the complete schedule of Ireland vs Afghanistan ODI series

Recently, Lalchand Rajput was appointed as the head coach of the Afghanistan cricket team. He had replaced the former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq after the latter chose to work with Pakistan Cricket Board. This will be Rajput's second series as the new coach and he will want the boys to continue the winning momentum they have gained after beating Scotland recently.

Ireland will be missing the likes of Max Sorensen, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin, Andrew Balbirnie, Craig Young and Niall O'Brien. All of these players are either injured or unavailable due to several reasons. However, they have some fresh faces in the side like Mark Adair, Sean Terry, Peter Chase and Tyron Kane, who can give Afghanistan a run for their money. 

Meanwhile, Afghanistan have plenty of firepower in their ranks and they need not worry much ahead of this series as most of their star players are fit and will be available for selection for the first ODI in Belfast.

The series is up for grabs and one can be rest assured that all these five ODIs are likely to be evenly-matched encounters. 

Where to watch live:

The first 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

No channels will broadcast Ireland vs Afghanistan 1st ODI in UK as well.

Afghan TV will telecast the game live in Afghanistan. For the live streaming option click here.

For live updates, click here