Rahmat – Ihsanullah created a history in hurry

Mark the scorebooks, revise the stats, Test cricket has a new winner, and its first since 2005. Afghanistan have forced their way through, in a canter. Given the see-saw this game has seen all through the three days, they’ve been as clinical as they could in killing off the contest.

Chasing a tricky total, one that has seen many a side fall prey to mentally, especially on wearing fourth-day tracks, Afghanistan showed no such nerves. Rahmat Shah started off positively with a consecutive boundaries off Tim Murtagh. Ireland didn’t help their cause either, with Thompson putting down a rather straightforward chance to give Ihsanullah Janat  a life in the day’s third over itself.

And then, neither looked back. After playing out four successive maidens, both batsmen cut loose, following it up with at least a boundary in each of the next few overs. Without seeming to take any risk, they fed on some lacklustre bowling, upping the ante post drinks to score at over 4.4 an over to seal the deal.

William Porterfield, Ireland’s skipper, seemed way too rigid in his bowling strategies, continuing with spin despite them not being able to enforce any sort of pressure on the rampaging Afghans. But to his defence, the pitch still seemed to have true bounce and slow pace and apart from the odd delivery, there was nothing out of the ordinary that could have troubled the batsmen.

Rahmat sealed the debate on the prospective Man of the Match, closing the door on Rashid Khan with yet another stunning half-century to follow up his efforts in the first outing. Ihsanullah, although happy to take his time in the beginning, hopped onto the boundary brigade in bringing up a fifty himself – his first.

It wasn’t without an anti-climax though. Rahmat, in a bid to swing one into the stands in the finishing stroke with only three runs to get, missed big time to be stumped. Mohammad Nabi too, in a quest to hit the winning runs, took on the fielder for a non-existent single and fell short. It was Hashmatullah Shahidi, fittingly, who closed it, thrashing a long hop into square leg.


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