Afghanistan stitched history in Dehradun on Monday to become the latest to win a Test match after beating Ireland by seven wickets. Chasing 147 for the win, Afghanistan got there thanks to a 100-plus run stand between Rahmat Shah and Ihsanullah Janat. It was the second Test for the newest members to the longest format fold.
Coming into the fourth day, both results seemed possible with Afghanistan needing 118 runs and Ireland nine wickets. Sensible batting, bar the rush of excitement at late on, kept the Afghans going and without any trouble. Not only playing a defensive style of play, Afghanistan were equally attacking and confident in not letting pressure get to them as they chased history.
Shah scored a second fifty of the Test to highlight his credentials as Afghanistan’s go to man in international cricket. He was given good support from Janat at the other end as they took the ‘hosts’ from an early blow of loss Mohammad Shahzad on Sunday.
The game, however, was set up by the bowlers for Afghanistan. Seven wickets in the match by tricky leg-spinner Rashid Khan, including a fifer in the second innings, meant Afghanistan didn’t have a big target to chase. Equally effective with the ball was Yamin Ahmadzai who finished with six wickets.
Rush to get the job finished and excitement for the first win got to Rahmat and Mohammad Nabi as they fell in two balls before Shahidi got Afghans past the finishing line.
Rahmat climbed down the track in going for a slog and finishing in glorious fashion but missed the ball to be stumped. Next ball, new man in Nabi got a single and as he pushed for a double, was caught short at the striker’s end.
The finish did come with a boundary with Shahidi pulling the James Cameron delivery to deep square fence to begin euphoric scenes in Dehradun.
Earlier, Afghanistan had won the T20I series 2-0 and the ODI series was level at 2-2 with one game getting washed out.
BRIEF SCORES: Ireland: 172 (Tim Murtagh 54*; Yamin Ahmadzai 3/41, Mohammad Nabi 3/36) and 288 (Andrew Balbirnie 82, Kevin O Brien 56; Rashid Khan 5/82, Yamin Ahmadzai 3/52) lose to Afghanistan: 314 (Rahmat Shah 98, Asghar Afghan 67; Stuart Thompson 3/28) & 147/3 (Rahmat Shah 76, Ihsanullah Janat 65).