Opener Paul Stirling struck a brilliant century and left-arm spinner George Dockrell took four wickets as Ireland thumped Afghanistan by five wickets in the third and final One-day International in Sharjah on Sunday.
Dockrell claimed 4/28 to help dismiss Afghanistan for 177 in 48.2 overs before Stirling’s 97-ball 101 sealed a 2-1 series victory as Ireland reached their target with 12 overs to spare. Stirling’s sixth ODI hundred included four sixes and 11 boundaries and gave Ireland the ideal preparation before next March’s 2019 World Cup qualifiers to be held in Zimbabwe.
Stirling set his team on track for a successful chase with a 62-run second-wicket stand with Andy Balbirnie (35) before falling leg-before with just eight needed for the win. Earlier, Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat but could not cope against Dockrell and the medium pace of Barry McCarthy, who finished with 3/32.
Only Rahmat Shah and Rashid Khan offered any real resistance as both made 44, while Javed Ahmadi scored 27 at the top of the order. Afghanistan won the first match by 138 runs, but Ireland had levelled the series with a 51-run victory in the second ODI.