The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Rashid hat-trick, Nabi 81 help Afghanistan sweep T20I series

Kevin O’Brien’s assault wasn’t enough as Afghanistan sealed their 10th consecutive T20I win over Ireland – taking the third match by 32 runs and completing a 3-0 series sweep – in Dehradun on Sunday (February 24). Afghanistan’s win was set up by Mohammad Nabi (81 off 36) and Rashid Khan (5 for 27) as Ireland were restricted to 178 for 8 with the game slipping away from them in the last four overs. This was Afghanistan’s 10th consecutive win in the format as they chase their own record of 11 consecutive wins – registered between March 2016 to March 2017.
Hazratullah Zazai lit up the venue with a record-breaking knock last night and gave another fast start to the side once again after Afghanistan were put in. Zazai raced to 32 off 17 as the hosts plundered 46 in the first four overs. Boyd Rankin, however, struck twice in the fifth over to pull things back just a touch. Afghanistan wobbled and slipped to 67 for 3 before Nabi and Asghar Afghan steadied things. They were involved in a 40-run stand as the team total surged past 100 in the 12th over.
Stuart Thompson struck a timely blow by removing the Afghanistan captain but it was also a period that saw Nabi tee off. He had made his way to 20 off 17 by then and started the assault in the 15th over by taking on Shane Getkate. He reached his half-century – off 30 deliveries – with consecutive sixes and placed Afghanistan perfectly to launch a late assault. With 161 on the board in 16 overs, Nabi struck Joshua Little for 25 in the 17th over before falling in the 18th to Peter Chase. Ireland made a sensational comeback after the wicket – giving just 24 in the last three overs – and restricted the damage done by the former Afghanistan captain.
Ireland lost Paul Stirling early in the third over but not before they the openers added 32. Kevin O’Brien continued to attack from one end and found good support from Andrew Balbirnie (47 off 33). The collaboration gave Ireland 96 runs in the next 10.5 overs and kept them in the hunt. Rashid, as expected, played a key role in choking the runs as more importantly struck timely blows to derail the chase. After conceding eight in his first over – the 11th of the innings – he came back for his second spell in the 16th.
On the final ball he dismissed O’Brien for 74 to leave an unkind cut. The drama wasn’t done yet though. Rashid, bowling the 18th over, picked up a hat-trick to seal the game for Afghanistan. The leg spinner got George Dockrell caught at long-on on the first delivery of his next over and then had Getkate stumped to become the seventh player to take a hat-trick in T20Is. He went on to bag four wickets in four balls – handing Simi Singh a first-ball duck – to put his side firmly on top. He completed his five-wicket haul with the wicket of Little and helped Afghanistan bag a convincing series sweep.
Brief scores: Afghanistan 210/7 in 20 overs (Mohammad Nabi 81; Boyd Rankin 3-53) beat Ireland 178/8 in 20 overs (Kevin O’Brien 74; Rashid Khan 5-27) by 32 
The Kabul Times

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.