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Rahmanullah Gurbaz scintillating ton on debut sets up 16-run win for Afghanistan
Match Report

Rahmanullah Gurbaz scintillating ton on debut sets up 16-run win for Afghanistan

Afghanistan 286/9 in 50 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 127, Rashid Khan 55; Andy McBrine 5-29)

Ireland 271/9 in 50 overs (Lorcan Tucker 83, Paul Stirling 39; Naveen ul Haq 3-68, Mujeeb ur Rahman 2-40)

A sensational century on his debut from 19-year-old Rahmanullah Gurbaz helped Afghanistan hold on to a 16-run win over Ireland despite a gutsy effort from half-centurion Lorcan Tucker.

Gurbaz smashed a terrific 127 before a series of explosive hits from Rashid Khan down the order helped Afghanistan amass 287/9 in their 50 overs.

Off-spinner Andy McBrine posed the biggest threat among the Ireland bowlers as he registered impressive figures of 5/29 in his 10-over spell.

Ireland's chase was disrupted by a loss of regular wickets as they ultimately fell 16 runs short of the target.

The victory allowed Afghanistan to pocket 10 crucial points in the ICC World Cup Super League, which serves as part of the qualification process for the 2023 global event.

Afghanistan blazed away to a fantastic start after choosing to bat first with Gurbaz and Javed Ahmadi teeing off from the get-go.

The opening stand lasted 22 overs and saw the pair add 120 runs by the time Ahmadi was caught by Simi Singh off McBrine for 38.

Gurbaz reached the triple-figure landmark in 115 deliveries and was eventually dismissed for a boundary-laden 127. He smacked nine sixes and eight fours in his belligerent knock but his wicket left Afghanistan in a precarious position at 198/6 in the 38th over.

Najibullah Zadran desperately tried to halt the procession of wickets and keep the scoreboard ticking along with a battling 29 before Rashid launched a six-hitting frenzy to swing the momentum in Afghanistan's favour.

Rashid blasted five maximums in his 30-ball 55 and was finally run-out on the penultimate delivery of the innings.

Ireland needed something special to surmount the daunting total and were instantly jolted by the loss of Kevin O'Brien in the third over of their chase.

Paul Stirling employed his typical fearless approach to a fair degree of success, making a rapid 39 but fell to the guile of Mohammad Nabi.

At 88-4, Ireland found hope in a promising partnership between Tucker and Curtis Campher with the former kicking on and giving his team a realistic chance of securing a come-from-behind win.

This was not possible and Tucker was the ninth Irish batsman out in the match as he was stumped by a jubilant Gurbaz, who grabbed the man of the match prize for his memorable performance.