AFG Vs IRE, Only Test Match Report: Ireland Beat Afghanistan By 6 Wickets For Historic First Win

Ireland chased down a target of 111 runs, thanks to skipper Andrew Balbirnie's measured half-century, against Afghanistan in their one-off Test match in Abu Dhabi. This was their second meeting in Test cricket


Cricket Ireland
Ireland cricketers celebrate after beating Afghanistan in their one-off Test in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Photo: Cricket Ireland

Ireland created history with a maiden Test win on Friday. Chasing a target of 111 runs against Afghanistan at Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Ireland made heavy weather of the task as Naveed Zadran struck twice in the second over, but Andrew Balbirnie played a captain's knock, scoring more than half the required runs. (More Cricket News)

A six-wicket win and Ireland tasted their first-ever Test victory in eight attempts. The Green and Whites thus pipped Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka -- all part of the ICC World Test Championship battle -- and Zimbabwe in the number of matches taken to register their first Test victory.


Both Afghanistan and Ireland were awarded Full Membership by the International Cricket Council, the sport's global governing body, six and half years ago; and were introduced to the toughest format -- the Test -- with much fanfare. Ireland hosted Pakistan in May 2018, while Afghanistan toured India the following month. Both the teams lost, of course.

Since then the so-called minnows continue to compete in the periphery, often featuring in one-off matches. And this 'only Test' was the latest iteration.

For the record, this was their second head-to-head meeting in red-ball cricket after the Dehradun fixture in March 2019, which was won by the Afghans. In Abu Dhabi, Ireland got their revenge and handed Afghanistan a sixth defeat in nine Tests.


Initially scheduled to be played at the more sprawling Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the Afghanistan vs Ireland one-off Test was moved to Tolerance Oval. Afghan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi won the toss and opted to bat first, in the hope of posting a imposing total.

A Mark Adair fifer upended Afghan's plans, however. Except for opener Ibrahim Zadran (53) and all-rounder Karim Jamat (41), no other Afghan batter managed to trouble Irish bowlers. The innings eventually collapsed to 155 all out in just 54.4 overs. Ireland's reply also got off to a nervy start, losing both openers to Naveed Zadran inside 10 overs.

But Ireland still managed to take a 108-run first innings lead, which eventually proved decisive in a low-scoring match, thanks to cameos from Curtis Campher (49), Paul Stirling (52), Lorcan Tucker (46) and Andy McBrine (38). For the Afghans, in the absence of star Rashid Khan, left-arm spinner Zia-ur-Rehman led the attack and claimed a five-wicket haul (5/64).

For Ireland, pace did the trick with Mark Adair (3/56), Barry McCarthy (3/48) and Craig Young (3/24) taking three wickets in Afghanistan's second essay. Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (55) and debutant Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46) played flattering knocks, but a total of 218 was never going to be enough.


"Irish seamers bowled very well but we threw our wickets," the losing captain said after the match. "The conditions was not good for batting, the ball was seaming, moving."

Adair was honoured with the Player of the Match award. While collecting the trophy, the 27-year-old from Hollywood claimed that he was only an "innocent bystander in this group of seamers".

"I'm absolutely buzzing. The way the lads put out a few fires at the end," the right-arm pacer said. "Last year, Test cricket was pretty difficult, we finished on the losing side every time. This is a stepping stone for us."


Balbirnie, who ensured the win a composed knock, hailed his bowlers for an "outstanding and really disciplined" performance. The 33-year-old said that win will "inspire a few back home to be Test cricketers".

The two teams will play three ODIs and three T20Is, starting Thursday with the first ODI in Sharjah.