Dubai: 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.