BELFAST: Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 22 runs in the third Twenty20 international in Belfast on Friday as they reduced the hosts’ lead to 2-1 in a five-match series.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz top-scored in Afghanistan’s 189-5 after the tourists lost the toss, with the opener’s innings well supported by Najibullah Zadran, whose 42 off just 18 balls featured five sixes.
Ireland, looking to take an unassailable 3-0 lead, then slumped to 85-7 in reply before the experienced George Dockrell and debutant Fionn Hand led an Ireland recovery.
The eighth-wicket duo put on 74 in just over six overs against a seasoned Afghanistan attack including established T20 internationals, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Hand made a fine 36 off only 18 balls before he was caught attempting to scoop Naveen-ul-Haq.
Dockrell finished unbeaten on 58 off 37 balls, including six fours and two sixes, but Ireland still came up short as they ended the match on 167-9.
The series continues at Stormont on Monday.