Kevin O’Brien’s last-ball six led to Ireland claiming a consolation win over Afghanistan in their Twenty20 series following a dramatic super over at Greater Noida in India.
Afghanistan levelled Ireland’s 142 for eight, losing one wicket fewer, after amassing 15 from the final over, including Rashid Khan’s sliced four off Josh Little from the last ball.
Rashid then had Paul Stirling lbw after Afghanistan posted eight for one from their six-ball allotment, but O’Brien had the final say when Ireland were left needing three from one ball and two for another super over.
O’Brien heaved the leg-spinner back over his head, just about clearing Qais Ahmad at long-off, as Ireland avoided the whitewash, with Afghanistan prevailing 2-1 in the three-match series.
The win broke a seven-year losing streak for Ireland against Afghanistan, having not beaten the Asian side in T20 cricket since 2013.
“We got 140 and a lot of people would have said we were dead and buried, but we showed a bit of fight and character there from the team that I want to see every time we go out and play. To defend 142 – and go again in the Super Over - was a brilliant effort,” said captain Andrew Balbirnie.
“Craig Young was brilliant I thought, he bowled a brilliant Super Over as well. T20 is all about momentum, and we had managed to take a bit of momentum into that Super Over. The guys can take a lot from that, we may have lost the series but in the last few months we’ve beaten West Indies away and now Afghanistan away, so that’s a big plus.
“It’s taken a long time [to beat Afghanistan] and there has been some heartache, but we’ve put in some hard yards against an excellent team who will undoubtedly do well in the World Cup – but we’ve got our own plans going into this year. This is just a great win for the team and morale boost for the squad.
“To finish our tour with a win is a very happy feeling.”