Ireland and Afghanistan to meet in Sharjah

Ireland and Afghanistan will lock horns in a three-match One-Day International series in Sharjah from December 5, Cricket Ireland confirmed on Thursday.

The second and third ODIs will be held on December 7 and December 10 respectively.

Ireland is currently preparing for its final ICC Intercontinental Cup clash against Scotland in Dubai from November 29 to December 2, and will gear up for the Afghan challenge soon after.

“The teams will relish the clash not just as two of the sport’s closest rivals, and as its two newest Test nations but, most obviously at this point, as two teams that are preparing for the ICC World Cup Qualifier. I am sure players and fans can’t wait,” said Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland CEO.

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The newest entrants to Test cricket have been in the thick of a growing rivalry over the last two overs with Afghanistan getting the better of Ireland on a number of occasions. This series provides both teams with essential match-practice in the lead-up to the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March.

“It will be an excellent opportunity for both Afghanistan and Ireland to face each other for competitive cricket after obtaining the Full Member status of the International Cricket Council on the same day,” said Shafiqullah Stanikzai, the Afghanistan Cricket Board chief.

Ireland and Afghanistan became full members of the International Cricket Council in June, taking the number of countries who play the game’s oldest format from 10 to 12.