After having competed against one another throughout the 2010s for the title of Associate champion, the two teams will now face one other for the first time in a T20 World Cup match proper.
However, the intensity of this rivalry was born out of a battle for Associate supremacy throughout the 2010s before both sides were elevated to Test status in 2017. Geographically speaking, Afghanistan and Ireland are perhaps two of the most peculiar rivals in all of cricket.
Ireland and Afghanistan were both promoted to Test status in 2017. Whether they were neck and neck in competition at that period or joined at the hip in the time that has passed since then as the new faces of the Full-Member society.
These two sides know each other better than the majority of the other participants in this event.
At the Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in 2010, 2012, and 2013, Ireland and Afghanistan competed against one another in the tournament final each year. Ireland’s men in green were victorious in the tournament finals in 2012 and 2013.
Since their first meeting in 2010, these two teams have competed against one another in this format a total of 23 times previously. Surprisingly, though, this will be the first time that they meet each other in a T20 World Cup match that counts.
Afghanistan has dominated its rivalry with Ireland, except for their back-to-back victories in the finals of the qualification. This is mostly due to Ireland’s unwillingness to bargain with Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.
However, things turned around for Ireland during the summer of 2018, when they won a five-match series in Belfast by a 3-2 score. It is important to note that Rashid did not take any wickets in any of Ireland’s three victories.
Which highlights a basic equation that has often been responsible for determining the outcome of matches throughout the years. Afghanistan is victorious as a result of Rashid’s wickets. He is defeated by Ireland, giving Ireland the victory.
In The Spotlight
Andy Balbirnie, the current captain of Ireland, spent most of his career batting third. However, after Ireland’s dismal performance in the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE, Kevin O’Brien was withdrawn from the team, and Balbirnie has placed himself into the opening slot.
He has justified the decision by tripling his previous career score of four T20I half-centuries. The most recent of them occurred against England at the MCG, and he was also a catalyst for the opening-round triumph over West Indies that brought them into the Super 12s with 37 off 23 balls.
The most recent of those came against England at the MCG.
At the Asia Cup, Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the top six-hitter because he struck the boundary 12 times, resulting in 152 runs scored at a strike rate of 163. That kind of strength may be required to go through the ropes at the MCG.
In addition to this, he was one of just three players on the Afghanistan team to hit a half-century throughout the five-match series that was played in Belfast in August.
George Dockrell has recovered from his infection with Covid-19; despite testing positive, he still participated in the games against England and Sri Lanka, and he should be well enough to play against Afghanistan.
It is quite doubtful that Ireland will make any changes to the winning combination that allowed them to defeat England on the same field.
Ireland (Probable Squad)
- Paul Stirling,
- Andy Balbirnie,
- Lorcan Tucker,
- Balbirnie (C/WK),
- Harry Tector,
- Curtis Campher,
- George Dockrell,
- Gareth Delany,
- Mark Adair,
- Josh Little,
- Barry McCarthy,
- Fionn Hand,
Even though they played poorly against England five days ago, Afghanistan will most likely use the same lineup that they used.
Afghanistan (Probable Squad)
- Hazratullah Zazai,
- Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk),
- Ibrahim Zadran,
- Usman Ghani,
- Najibullah Zadran,
- Mohammad Nabi (capt.),
- Azmatullah Omarzai,
- Rashid Khan,
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman,
- Fareed Ahmad,
- Fazalhaq Farooqi,
Pitch and Conditions
In this tournament, seamers have had an advantage, and historically speaking, the MCG has been known to be more favorable to chasing teams. Ten out of the sixteen men’s T20 International matches played there were won by the team that batted second.
It’s possible that the prediction for Friday could sway your choice to go after it even more.
As a result of the rain that fell on England and Ireland during their play, the match between Afghanistan and New Zealand had to be completely called off. On Friday, there is an eighty percent possibility that it will rain from eight in the morning until eight in the evening.