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From the ICC T20 - Day 5 - FINAL Afghanistan v Ireland

President Karzai's promised the squad a brand new Toyota Corolla each on their return to Afghanistan and a friend of Taj Malik's presenting them with laptops. All in all a rewarding tournament for the Afghans, winners on and off the field.
10.55 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Shahzad wins it with a 6! AFGHANISTAN WIN BY FOUR WICKETS with 15 balls to spare.

Afghanistan do a victory lap in front of their fans and Shahzad receives warm congratulations from the Irish team which is good to see.
10.50 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final As soon as mid-off's brought in, Nowroz hits the ball over his head for a thumping 4. Hands on hips among the Irish fielders for quite some time, it looks like they know they've lost it. Afghanistan 138 for 2 after 17 overs needing just 5 more!
10.47 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Afghanistan aren't even having to try that hard any more, as they push singles around the ground. 20 wanted off the last 4 overs now. Alex Cusack is brought back, he bowled 2 overs for just 6 runs earlier, but starts this spell with 4 wides.
10.44 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final The ball's holding up a little on the slightly dewy outfield, and the ball has needed to be changed four balls into the 15th over as a result of the conditions perhaps. Nevertheless, Afghanistan seem to be running away with the match. The over ends with Shahzad on 50 (37 balls, 6 fours). Afghanistan 115 for 2, needing 28 off the last 30 deliveries.
10.37 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Shahzad using his feet to Dockrell and finding the leg-side gaps, Afghanistan 107 for 2 after 14, need a run a ball from the next six overs. The game remains theirs to win.
10.32 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Afghanistan pass 100 after 12.3 overs and look to be cruising. Rub of the green going their way too. "Zindabad" is the cry ringing round the ground, and fans are still coming in!
10.27 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Noor Ali falls lbw to the last ball of the 11th over, after a fine partnership of 52 off 45 balls with Shhazad and Afghanistan are 89 for 2 after 11, needing 54 off 54 balls to win.
10.22 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Shahzad finds the long-on boundary during the 10th over, bowled by slow left-armer Dockrell and Afghanistan are 80 for 1 after 10, needing 63 from the second half of the innings. It's there for Afghanistan to win and the cheeky, crafty unorthodox Shahzad is doing everything he can for his team.
10.18 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final The crowd roars every time the batsmen beat the infield and the drums and trumpets start another chorus. Afghanistan 72 for 1 after 9 overs, well up with the rate.
10.15 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Noor Ali's playing within himself, keeping the ball on the ground and Afghanistan are 69 for 1 after 8 overs, needing 74 off the next 72 deliveries. Partnership of 33 off 29 deliveries so far between Noor and Shahzad.
10.02 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Better over for Ireland, only 3 coming off it and Afghanistan need 83 off 84 at the end of the sixth over. Ireland are fielding very well, whenever they can lay a hand on the ball.
10.02 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Close to 7000 in the ground now, Karim's dismissal for 34 off 17 has quietened them somewhat though. Afghanistan now 37 for 1 after 4 overs.
10.02 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Three boundaries in three balls at the start of the 5th over by Shahzad, becomes four in four with a rasping cover drive. Then five in five with an inside edge jagged down to fine leg. 20 off the over and Afghanistan are 57 for 1 after 5. 86 wanted off 15 at less than a run a ball!
9.51 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Karim Sadiq's on fire! Let off his leash, he's smiting boundaries almost at will. Afghanistan 31 for 0 after 3 overs, Karim 28 off 14 so far!
9.35 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Apparently Mr. Hazmat Daliwal, Chairman of the Afghan Cricket Board and Finance Minister of Afghanistan has been sent specially by President Karzai as a morale booster for the country. 177 and counting have died as a result of snows in Afghanistan and the President feels that cricket is the something that will create a good feeling in the country. So Mr. Daliwal has flown in within hours of Afghanistan qualifying for the World T20 to proffer his country's support for the team.
9.22 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final A fiery last over from Shahpour, one wicket and just 5 runs as Ireland finish on 142 for 8.

A good target to chase, it'll mean Afghanistan'll have to go some, which they and their fans will enjoy! Good work by the Afghans in the field, pulling back Ireland from 81 for 2 after 10 overs.
9.17 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Last over coming up, Ireland 137 for 7.
9.07 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final No Irish boundaries for the past 25 deliveries and Ireland are de-accelerating at 127 for 7 after 18. Nowroz finishes his spell with figures of 3-23, he's bowled cannily with changes of pace and line.
9.07 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Hamid bowls Mooney, whose bat hadn't come down when the bails went flying. Only one boundary in the past 4 overs, Ireland 117 for 7 after 16.3 overs. And the crowd now close to 3000.
9.00 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Nowroz bowls Nigel Jones with an off-break first ball of the 16th over, his third wicket in thirteen deliveries. Afghanistan may indeed be able to keep Ireland below 150.

Ireland being made to work for every run, as the throws come flying into the 'keeper.
8.57 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Hamid jams the ball into Mooney's helmet, where it sticks. Ireland 111 for 5 after 15 overs.

8.53 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Nowroz takes his second wicket, Wilson calmly caught at short third man by Hamid and Ireland are 97 for 5 in the 14th over. If Afghanistan can keep Ireland below 150 it'll be a good result.

None of the past few batsmen have been able to find much timing on the ball, perhaps the result of a slowing wicket as the evening gets colder.

8.50 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Just 5 runs off Hamid Hassan's first over, every dot ball cheered to the rafters. The drums are beating constantly and the trumpets are blowing. And still the fans are pouring in.
8.47 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final The crowd growing all the time, in numbers and volume, 'Afghanistan Zindabad' ringing out frequently, numbers pouring in and filling a whole new section of the ground. Ireland's running between the wickets looking fraught under some good pressure from the Afghan fielders.
8.43 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final And another next ball, as a Nabi long-hop is pulled to Raees Ahmadzai at short midwicket, who takes a good catch low down. Ireland 87 for 4 after 11.1 overs.
8.41 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Afghanistan chipping away, Sami bowls the dangerous Alex Cusack with a skidding googly and Ireland are 87 for 3 after 11 overs.
8.37 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Sami 'The Cheetah' Shinwari runs out Niall O'Brien with just one stump to aim at, and Ireland are 81 for 2 after 10 overs.

The crowd has grown to over 2000 now.
8.28 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Ireland 60 for 1 after 7 overs. Plenty of twos being run.
8.18 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Ireland's first wicket falls - Porterfield skies to Mirwais mid-on off Nabi's first ball. He always finds a way to be in the game! Afghanistan may actually enjoy chasing a large total, as they could play their natural boom-boom game in the run-chase. Ireland 42 for 1 after 5.1 overs.
8.16 PM Dubai, Afghanistan v Ireland: Final Ireland's progress continues 36 for 0 after 4. Boundaries being found.
8.08 PM, Dubai Afghanistan v Ireland Bright start by Ireland under the lights, 13 for 0 after 2 overs. It's the first time playing with floodlights for all but Nabi in the Afghan team (he's played under them for Karchi's Customs side).

About 1000 Afghan fans and a score of Irish supporters in the ground. The Afghan Finance Minister and Chairman of the Afghan Cricket Board is also expected sometime during the match, having flown in especially after knowing that his team would be playing in the ICC T20 Final.

In fact he's just arrived.

7.43 PM, Dubai Afghanistan v Ireland, The Final
The weary teams have done a little on the outfield, Ireland have won the toss and will bat.

"Getting here was our goal," says the Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan, "whatever happens from now on is a bonus. We'd like the Trophy of course, it's always good to win."

The winners of this Final will be in the group with India and South Africa at the T20 World Cup, the losers will be in the group with England and the West Indies.

So, plenty to play for



 
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