Zazai and Rashid resign Ireland to series loss

Opening batsman Hazratullah Zazai and leg-spinner Rashid Khan catapulted Afghanistan to a comfortable 81-run triumph over Ireland, in Wednesday’s second Twenty20 International at the Bready Cricket Club in Magheramason.

Zazai’s brisk 82, which spanned a mere 72 deliveries and featuered six fours and seven sixes, spearheaded the Afghans to a formidable final total of 160 for eight.

He was well supported by captain Asghar Afghan’s commanding 37 and the big-hitting Najibullah Zadran’s unbeaten 20.

Seamer Peter Chase was, statistically, the best of the Irish bowlers. His fine haul of three for 35 was aided by the lanky Boyd Rankins’s key brace, which featured the important dismissal of the dangerous Mohammad Nabi.

“It was really special. I was keen to play and it’s nice to get the opportunity to play here. It was good to get a crowd,” said Rankin.

Ireland’s pursuit slipped to an entirely insufficient 79 all out. That final total would have read substantially less, too, had the veteran William Porterfield dug deep for a near standalone 33.

Khan combined superbly with left-arm slow bowler Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The duo achieved telling collective figures of seven for 34 in seven entertaining overs.

The result afforded Afghanistan an unassailable two-nil lead in the three-match series. The final T20I will be played at the same venue on Friday.