Afghanistan vs Ireland Final Highlights | T20 World Cup Qualifier | 2012. Watch Highlights of Afghanistan v Ireland T20 WC Qualifier Cricket Highlights.
Ireland and Afghanistan served up a blistering classic in the final of the World Twenty20 Qualifier in Dubai, putting to rest any fears that the game would be an anti-climax after both teams had already sealed their spot in the World Twenty20 to be held later this year.
The game was adorned by brilliant innings from two pugnacious batsmen, Mohammad Shahzad and Paul Stirling. Shahzad cut loose at the bowling, crashing 77 off 57 balls as he finally found a way to overcome Ireland’s grip. Shahzad, the match-winner in this event two years ago, with an unbeaten 65 then, infuriated the Irish attack who responded with long hops that he deposited over the ropes.
Boyd Rankin’s first ball was hit for six by Karim Sadiq, but Rankin responded with an angry spell, dismissing Sadiq, who was bowled after the ball crashed into his helmet and rolled onto the stumps. Trent Johnston also got some early stick but had the other opener Javed Ahmadi held at third man.
That meant fringe players needed to step up, and Phil Simmons can have no complaints on that score. Gary Wilson had a brilliant run with the bat and kept wickets tidily, but it was the array of bowling talent that ensured Ireland’s passage, even with the loss of Cusack and Mooney.
Johnston and Rankin could always be relied upon to make an early breakthrough, five times taking a first-over wicket. Rankin has improved since joining the England set-up and there are real concerns that he might win a national call-up there. Johnston has spent much of the past year nursing his knee, and the eventual operation left him on crutches for the winter. But he improved as the event progressed and his match-winning dismissal of the two top Namibians yesterday crowned his tournament, likely to be his last at Associate level.
But before that, he has one last hit at the big boys, and will relish taking on the land of his birth (Australia).
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Ireland beat Afghanistan by five wickets to claim the World Twenty20 qualifier final in Dubai. Ireland qualified for its third consecutive World Twenty20 with a nine-wicket victory over Namibia. Afghanistan had also already qualified after beating Namibia by 47 runs. The final decided that Ireland will play in the World Twenty20 to be held in Sri Lanka in September in a group with Australia and West Indies. Afghanistan joins England and India.
ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier – Final
Afghanistan v Ireland
Ireland won by 5 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)