Cricket

Najibullah's maiden ODI ton powers Afghanistan to a competitive total


AFGHANISTAN VS IRELAND, 2019

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Najibullah finished with an unbeaten 98-ball 104 – 50 of which came in fours and sixes © Getty

A special innings from the highly-rated Najibullah Zadran helped Afghanistan recover from a perilous situation – 74/5 at one stage – to post a fighting total against Ireland in the third ODI at the Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium in Dehradun on Tuesday (March 5).

Opting to bat, Afghanistan lost two of their top three batsmen – Mohammad Shahzad and Rahmat Shah – to some accurate bowling from Tim Murtagh and Andy McBrine; both the opening bowlers attacked the stumps more often and were rewarded with an lbw dismissal each.

The in-form batsman Hazratullah Zazai was in good nick from the start and just as he looked to rebuild some momentum with skipper Asghar Afghan, a brainfade moment from the former opened doors for yet another Ireland comeback. From 53/3, Afghanistan were soon reduced to 74/5 in the span of five overs.

The hosts looked in all sorts of trouble at the end of 20th over with the score reading 77/5, but a 117-run association between Asghar Afghan and Najibullah Zadran revived Afghanistan’s innings and set the platform for a competitive total on the board.

Although they lost two key wickets (Asghar Afghan and Mohammad Nabi) in the 45th over, Najibullah fared well towards the end and played a pivotal part in Afghanistan recording 53 runs in the last five overs, scoring his maiden ODI century. Andy McBrine was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors with a tight spell of 1-37 in his ten overs that included two maidens.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 256 for 8 in 50 overs (Asghar Afghan 75, Najibullah Zadran 104*; Boyd Rankin 2-56) vs Ireland

© Cricbuzz

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