Afghanistan vs Ireland, Only Test, Preview: History beckons in Dehradun as the two teams aim for their maiden victory

Ireland had fared better in their first ever Test match compared to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan vs Ireland
Afghanistan vs Ireland. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Two rookies and the most recent teams to get the elite status in the world of Test cricket will face-off against each other in the one-off game in Dehradun. Both Afghanistan and Ireland have gone through the grind of the longest format and played one Test thus far. But in the only game that they played, they were up against quality oppositions which would have taught them a lot of lessons.

Afghanistan faced a much superior Team India in their only outing in the whites thus far. The game ended in just two days and the visitors were thrashed in Bengaluru back then. It has been a while since that game was played and the players had a lot of time to reflect upon their mistakes. When they take the field on day-1 in Dehradun, they will like to come out with much better spirits and confidence.

Ireland, on the other hand, gave quite a stiff competition when they played Pakistan. The game went into the final day before the Irishmen put their hands up. Their players, Boyd Rankin in particular who played an Ashes Test for England, have a fair bit of experience. The series-levelling efforts in the ODI series should hold them in good stead and they wouldn’t want to concede a win to the opposition easily.

Team Combinations

Afghanistan

The batting is the biggest problem for Afghanistan heading into this game. Against India, the batsmen hardly put up a fight resulting in an embarrassing loss. They will have to turn and play responsibly in this game. Asghar Afghan and Mohammad Nabi will hold the key in this department. As far as the bowling is concerned, the hosts have to take some big decisions. They might have to pick one between Zahir Khan and Waqar Salamkheil. It is the same case with Sayed Shirzad and Wafadar Momand.

Predicted XI: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Ihsanullah Janat, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (c), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zahir Khan/Waqar Salamkheil, Sayed Shirzad/Wafadar Momand.

Ireland

Ireland team is pretty much similar to what is was in the ODI series. Many of the big names have retired since the last time they played in the whites. Paul Stirling will have to open the innings and also share the spin duties with Simi Singh and George Dockrell. Andrew Balbirnie is expected to continue with the good form in the longest format of the game.

Predicted XI: William Porterfield (c), Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie, Simi Singh, Kevin O’Brien, George Dockrell, Stuart Poynter (wk), Andy McBrine, James Cameron-Dow/Stuart Thompson, Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin.

Focus will be on

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

Rashid Khan will be the biggest threat to Ireland in this Test match. It will all boil down to how well they’ll face the leg-spinner in the game. Rashid committed a few errors in his maiden Test. But, he is a quick learner. He is expected to bounce back hard and will be eager to make an impact.

Kevin O’Brien (Ireland)

Kevin O’Brien is one of the most experienced campaigners in the Ireland team. He is the first ever Irishman to score a Test century. He has got all the skills to make it big. It will be crucial for him to apply himself well in the middle and put his team on the top with his batting.

Stat Attack

Zahir Khan in first-class cricket: 7 matches 34 wickets at an average of 13.14

Broadcast Details

TV – DSport

Online Streaming: Rabbitholebd

Match Timings – 9:30 IST and local

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