We are back for the Irish chase! The umpires and the fielders are out in the middle. Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie are the usual openers for Ireland. Naveen-ul-Haq to start proceedings with the new ball for Afghanistan. Here we go...
... The Run Chase ...
The Irish bowling blew hot and cold. They appeared to be in control soon after the Powerplay but then lost the plot completely. Gareth Delany was the pick of the bowlers as his first two overs went for 12 runs and he picked 3 vital wickets too. However, his final over went for 21 runs and spoiled his figures. Now, the hosts have an enormous total in front and let's see how they plan their chase. Stay tuned...
At the start of this 11-over-per-side contest, Afghanistan hammered 17 runs in the opening over to set the tone and ended up with 38 runs in the 3-over Powerplay. Rahmanullah Gurbaz was in exceptional hitting form and looked dangerous during his stay in the middle. The introduction of Gareth Delany resulted in a couple of wickets, and that stopped Afghanistan's charge. Thereafter, Najibullah Zadran's efforts helped the Afghans to navigate through the middle phase with a healthy run rate, and then, he and Rashid Khan finished with a flourish.
Wow! What a cracking finish from Afghanistan! 53 runs from the last three overs and they have finished on an imposing 132 for 6. It was a swashbuckling knock from Najibullah Zadran and his sensational 18-ball 50 partnership with Rashid Khan cornered the Irish team. It was a mixed-bag first inning of this rain-affected game! The momentum kept shifting in both directions, but in the end, Afghanistan have put themselves in the driver's seat after posting a sizable total on the board.
Score after 11 overs : 132/6
FOUR! Rashid Khan ends off proceedings in style! Adair misses his mark and serves a low full toss outside off. Rashid stays deep and slashes it away, through the cover region for a boundary. Afghanistan finish with 132/6 on the board!
A slower ball, short and on middle, Rashid Khan goes for the pull but mistimes it towards deep square leg for a brace. He will be on strike for the last ball. Can he finish the innings in style?
Sharafuddin Ashraf comes out to the middle.
OUT! TAKEN! A good take in the deep from Josh Little and Najibullah Zadran departs after a sensational knock. This is bowled into the pitch by Mark Adair and angling it across the left-hander. Zadran stays deep and tries to muscle it over the mid-wicket fence but gets hurried on. The ball goes high and towards wide long on where Little settles under it to take the catch.
Perfect! This is full and wide, Adair gets it full enough and just inside the tramline. Left alone by Zadran but no wide is called.
George Dockrell looks in some pain in the middle. The physios are in to check on him. George Dockrell goes off the field for further treatment.
In the air, it is a very difficult chance and it is DROPPED! That will be FIFTY for Najibullah Zadran and what a brilliant knock this has been from the southpaw. George Dockrell though is down in some pain and it is not a pretty sight to watch. Hopefully, he is fine. Coming back to the ball, it is a sharp short ball over off, Zadran takes it on again and this time he isn't in control of it. The ball goes high and over square leg. Dockrell runs back and manages to grab the ball but loses it on upon impact with the ground and unfortunately for him, the ball ricochets off the ground to hit him on the face. Two taken.
FOUR! Afghanistan are putting on a monster total here! Banged in short and around off, Najibullah Zadran takes it on and pulls it away behind square on the leg side for a one-bounce boundary.
Mark Adair is ready to bowl the last over.
Score after 10 overs : 120/5
SIX! Rashid Khan has completely spoiled Gareth Delany's figures! Around middle, Rashid stays deep in his crease and just has a swipe across the line. Rashid connects well and the ball flies over the cow corner fence. 21 off it!
Tossed up, full and outside off, Rashid looks to slog-sweep but misses and gets hit on the body.
WIDE! Delany fires it in, full and wide outside off, a bit too wide though for the umpire's liking.
Quicker and flatter, going across the left-hander, this is cut away to deep cover for a run.
SIX! Always risky to bowl the spinner at the death and Afghanistan are making full use of it. This is the wrong 'un, full and wide, Najibullah Zadran reaches out and smokes it over the wide long off fence for a biggie.
This is darted into middle, Rashid drills it down to long on for just a single.
SIX! Oh, that is a Rashid Khan special! Quicker one, just a tad short and around the leg stump line, Rashid goes deep in his crease and whips it away hard and flat over the leaping fielder at the mid-wicket fence for a maximum. 100 up!
Score after 9 overs : 99/5
SIX! BANG! This is short again and on middle, Najibullah Zadran gets into position quickly and heaves it over the deep mid-wicket fence for a biggie. 20 from the over, Afghanistan are finishing strongly.
DROPPED! This is short and on middle, Rashid Khan pulls it high in the air and towards deep mid-wicket, Harry Tector there tries to settle under it but probably loses it in the sky and makes a meal out of it. The batters run three.
SIX! Boom! This is a bit shorter and there's ample width on offer. Rashid Khan fetches it and slaps it over the point fence for a brilliant maximum.
This is very full and outside off, Rashid Khan reaches out and uses his wrists to loft it behind square on the leg side. Two fielders from inside the ring chase it and cut it off. Two taken and Zadran wants the third but is sent back by Rashid and rightly so.
This is on a hard length and on middle, angling in, Najibullah Zadran looks to play at it but misses and the ball deflects off his body to the off side. They cross.
WIDE! This is short and on the leg stump line, Najibullah Zadran misses his hook. It is called a wide.
Half-chance but dropped again. This is on a hard length and outside off, Rashid Khan cuts it uppishly wide of cover-point, the fielder there dives and gets fingers on it but cannot hold on. A single taken.
Barry McCarthy (1-0-6-1) is back on.
Score after 8 overs : 79/5
Floated, full and on middle, Najibullah Zadran goes for the reverse sweep but misses.
This is short again and on off, Najibullah Zadran lofts it over covers for a couple of runs.
WIDE! Darts this one way outside off. Wided.
Rashid Khan is the new man in.
OUT! CAUGHT! Gareth Delany picks up his third wicket and Azmatullah Omarzai has to depart as well. Delany drags this one down over middle and leg, Omarzai goes deep in his crease and tries to force the lofted shot over the mid-wicket fence. He though gets no timing on it and ends up skying it just over the mid-wicket region. George Dockrell runs in from the deep and takes it with both hands. Another timely wicket for Ireland then.
A bit short and around off, Najibullah Zadran stays back and punches it towards sweeper cover for a single.
DROPPED! This is tossed up, landing full and outside off again, Najibullah Zadran throws his bat at it and slices it towards the right of short third man, the fielder there dives but cannot grab it. Two taken.
Flighted delivery and on off, turning further away, Najibullah Zadran tries to cut at it but misses.
Gareth Delany is back on. Also, the sun has made its maiden appearance today, peeping through the clouds.
Score after 7 overs : 73/4
Back to over the wicket now for the left-hander. This is on a length and around off, Zadran plays it towards the vacant cover-point region and is happy with just the single to retain strike.
Little switches to around the wicket now and angles it into the body, tucking Azmatullah Omarzai up. Omarzai though manages to swat it away towards deep mid-wicket and collects a single.
Swing and a miss! Little hits the hard length and pushes it wider. Omarzai stays inside the crease and looks to dispatch it over covers but misses.
Little goes full and wide, Zadran drives it firmly and through covers but just for a single.
FOUR! Stand and deliver and Najibullah Zadran now holds the key for Afghanistan. Short of a length but it is the slower ball and outside off. Zadran plays almost a lofted back-foot punch and gets it over extra cover for a boundary.
This is on a shorter length and over leg stump, Omarzai plays it close to the body and steers it down to third man for a single.
The man with the golden arm at the moment for Ireland, Josh Little comes back into the attack.
Score after 6 overs : 65/4
SIX! Powerfully struck! Tossed up, full and around off, Najibullah Zadran backs away a bit to open up the off-side field and lofts it brilliantly over the wide long off fence for a biggie.
Singh drops it a bit short and around off, Azmatullah Omarzai punches it off the back foot and through cover-point for one more.
A hint of flight, full and around off, stroked away through covers by Najibullah Zadran for a single.
This is flatter and outside off, cut away towards deep cover for just a single.
Goes over the wicket and lands this short, outside off, Azmatullah Omarzai stays back and tries to cut it but cannot connect.
Floated and around off, Najibullah Zadran taps it towards short mid-wicket and scampers across for a single.
Azmatullah Omarzai comes in next.
Score after 5 overs : 55/4
OUT! CAUGHT! The wickets keep tumbling and it is the skipper this time who has to walk back. Fionn Hand changes things up and bowls a slower ball, on a good length and angles it into the body. Mohammad Nabi backs away and tries to force it over covers but the ball goes off the higher part of the bat and over extra cover. Andy Balbirnie over there just leaps up and takes a comfortable catch. Ireland making a strong comeback here.
FOUR! A lucky boundary but they all count. Fionn Hand goes short this time and on middle and leg, Mohammad Nabi goes for the pull but gets a top edge towards the fine leg fence, it is wide of the fielder and goes to the fence.
Another slower one, full and on middle, Mohammad Nabi looks to work it to the leg side but chips it to the right of the bowler as he gets beaten by the change of pace.
This is short and outside off, Najibullah Zadran again reaches for it and dabs it through cover-point for one.
In the air...safe! This is a slower ball, full and outside off, Najibullah Zadran throws his bat at it and lofts it just past the extra cover fielder for a brace.
FOUR! Nicely played! Fionn Hand starts his spell with a loosener. This is a low full toss and on off, Najibullah Zadran drives it through covers for a boundary.
Score after 4 overs : 44/3
This is pushed through quicker and on off, Zadran pushes it down to mid off for a single. End of a terrific over from Delany, 6 runs and two wickets from it.
FOUR! Short and wide, Najibullah Zadran rocks back and cuts it late past backward point for a boundary.
Stat alert - 50 catches for George Dockrell in T20Is! He becomes the 7th player to do so after David Miller, Martin Guptill, Rohit Sharma, Mohammad Nabi, David Warner and Shoaib Malik.
Shorter and on the pads, this is worked away towards square leg for one.
No hat-trick but that was close! Quicker and flatter, very close to the off pole. Mohammad Nabi tries to have a little nibble at it but gets beaten past the outside edge.
Mohammad Nabi walks in at number 5.
OUT! TAKEN! Two in two for Gareth Delany. This is tossed up full and around off, Hazratullah Zazai goes down and slogs it hard towards the deep mid-wicket fence. Unfortunately for him, he hits it straight into the hands of Barry McCarthy. Afghanistan are losing their way a bit.
Najibullah Zadran is the new man in.
OUT! CAUGHT! Straight to the man and Ibrahim Zadran will be kicking himself. A real long hop from Gareth Delany to start off his spell. It is around middle and leg, Zadran rocks back and pulls it without much timing. The ball goes straight down the throat of the man at the mid-wicket fence and George Dockrell takes an assured catch. It is Dockrell's 50th catch in T20I cricket and he becomes the 7th man to achieve this feat. Delany's golden arm continues to impress.
Time for some spin now as Gareth Delany is brought into the attack.
Score after 3 overs : 38/1
Full delivery and on middle, Ibrahim Zadran forces it towards mid off for a quick single and gets off the mark. Afghanistan are 38/1 at the end of the Powerplay.
Sharp bouncer to the new batter. Barry McCarthy bangs this short and on middle, Ibrahim Zadran goes for the pull but misses.
Ibrahim Zadran is in at number 3.
OUT! CAUGHT! Rahmanullah Gurbaz's fiery little cameo comes to an end and Ireland will be very much relieved here. Barry McCarthy goes short and angles this one into the body. The ball rises up well and Gurbaz gets completely cramped for room. Gurbaz tries to hook it away over short fine leg but the ball seems to have come off the gloves or the shoulder of the bat. It lobs towards Mark Adair at short fine leg and he makes no mistake.
FOUR LEG BYES! This is on a length and on the leg stump line, Rahmanullah Gurbaz shuffles across and tries to scoop it towards the fine leg fence but misses and the ball deflects off his pads and goes for a boundary anyway.
Goes short and on middle, Hazratullah Zazai stays back and pulls it to deep mid-wicket for a single.
FOUR! Hazratullah Zazai welcomes Barry McCarthy with a boundary. This is a juicy full toss and on leg, Hazratullah Zazai drills it towards the deep square leg fence for four runs.
Barry McCarthy replaces Josh Little.
Score after 2 overs : 28/0
A dot to end the over but Afghanistan still get 11 off it. On a fullish length, around off, Gurbaz just looks to drop and run but fails to do so.
Good comeback delivery from Adair! This is a sharp bouncer, around middle. Gurbaz looks to take it on but gets beaten for pace.
FOUR! Quick hands! Just short of a length, close to the off pole. Gurbaz rocks back and cuts it behind point for yet another boundary.
SIX! WOW! This is the slower ball from Adair, fuller and on middle. Rahmanullah Gurbaz picks it up and launches it into orbit as the ball goes sailing over the deep mid-wicket fence for a colossal hit. Gurbaz is in a destructive mood here.
BEATEN! Adair bowls this one on a good length and delivers it in that channel around off. Gurbaz stays deep in his crease and has a feel for it but gets beaten past the outside edge.
Starts off with a fullish delivery, outside off and there's a bit of shape on it. Hazratullah Zazai gets low and drives it towards the man at wide mid off.
Mark Adair comes into the attack now.
Score after 1 overs : 17/0
SIX! Classic Gurbaz and he ends the first over in style, 17 coming off it! This is short again and over middle and off, Gurbaz gets inside the line of the ball and pulls it all the way over the fine leg fence for a biggie. Perfect start for Afghanistan!
Straight to the man! Shorter and around middle, Gurbaz muscles it but straight to the man at mid-wicket.
A touch fuller and wider, Gurbaz has a wild swing across the line but gets beaten all ends up.
EDGY FOUR! Just back of a length, tighter around the off stump, Rahmanullah Gurbaz awkwardly tries to fend it away. The ball takes the shoulder of the bat and flies away over short third man for yet another boundary.
Half an appeal from the Irish players but that's all. Good length, on off and nipping back in off the deck. Gurbaz gets squared up and takes a blow high on the pads.
FOUR! First runs off the bat and it is a boundary! Short of a length, angling across the right-hander, Rahmanullah Gurbaz stays back and just steers it past short third man for a boundary.
TWO WIDES! Josh Little is off the radar here and gives away two more free runs. This is full and well down the leg side, the keeper fails to collect the ball and the batters scamper through for a run as well.
WIDE! Little starts off with a loosener and Afghanistan are underway! This is bowled from over the stumps and angled down the leg side, a wide is called.
We are finally ready for play! The umpires and the players make their way out to the middle. The Powerplay will be the first 3 overs and four bowlers can bowl 2 overs each with only one bowler allowed to bowl 3 overs. The Afghan opening pair of Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz take their guard. Josh Little has the new ball in hand and is raring to go.
Mohammad Nabi, the captain of Afghanistan, says that they will try to put some runs on the board and put pressure on Ireland. Tells that it was a brilliant show from their batters in the last game and they are looking forward to doing the same. Adds that it's very important to get a good start as they have power-hitters in the lower order. Informs that they also have a couple of changes.
Andy Balbirnie, the skipper of Ireland, says that they will bowl first. He says that with the overhead conditions they aren't sure what a good score is but yes, the bowlers will get help early on. Adds that they have played a few shortened games so is excited to see how it turns out. Informs that they have a couple of changes and one of them is Simi Singh coming in for Curtis Campher.
PITCH REPORT - Alan Lewis says that it's the same pitch as Friday but the overhead conditions are completely different. Says that the pitch has a tinge of green on it and the side winning the toss will look to bowl first. That's what Andy Balbirnie has done.
Afghanistan (Playing XI) - Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (C), Azmatullah Omarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf (In for Usman Ghani), Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fareed Ahmad (In for Fazalhaq Farooqi).
Ireland (Playing XI) - Paul Stirling, Andy Balbirnie (C), Lorcan Tucker (WK), Harry Tector, Mark Adair, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Fionn Hand, Simi Singh (In for Curtis Campher), Barry McCarthy (In for Graham Hume), Josh Little.
TOSS - The coin goes up and lands in favour of Ireland. They have elected to BOWL first.
UPDATE 9.26 pm IST (3.56 pm GMT) - The covers are fully off and we have a start time! The play will commence at 10.00 pm IST (4.30 pm GMT). Toss will take place in a few minutes' time at 9.30 pm IST (4 pm GMT). Also, the match has been reduced to 11-overs-per-side, so expect some fireworks straightaway. Stay tuned.