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Porterfield fury as Irish succumb to record loss

By Ian Callender

In the end, it was quick, brutal and painless. Ireland surrendered their position at the top of the Intercontinental Cup table 70 minutes before the close of the penultimate day as Afghanistan inflicted Ireland's biggest ever defeat - an innings and 172 runs.

Asked to follow on 276 runs behind, Ireland's tour ended as it had started - with a collapse, this the grandest of them all as they lost all 10 wickets for 96 runs.

The top score was 15 and No.11 Peter Chase (who had scored 32 runs in his previous 12 innings) was Ireland's sixth top scorer in the game.

Captain William Porterfield offered no excuses but insisted he was more disappointed by their first innings performance rather than yesterday afternoon's abysmal effort.

"First innings is obviously massive in multi-format cricket and we were too far behind," he said.

"We are disappointed in the second innings but there was too big a gap to put up any fight today. The way we set out in the first session was great, but we couldn't get past the harder ball with their spinners in the second innings which made it difficult.

"But I'm more annoyed about the first innings and not being closer with both bat and ball."

After taking five wickets for 22 runs in under eight overs on Wednesday night, Rashid Khan was expected to be the destroyer on day three but he went wicketless through the extended morning session as John Anderson and the tail added 91 for the last three wickets.

Anderson maintained his record of passing 50 in every I-Cup game and he received good support from Andy McBrine (44 balls) and Chase (50) but as Porterfield admitted, Ireland's heart just wasn't in it when Afghanistan sent them back in again after lunch.

The captain completed a horror game with the bat, dismissed twice for single figure scores for the first time in his 11-year Ireland career, and when first innings top scorer Andy Balbirnie, Anderson - promoted to No.4 - and Ed Joyce were all back in the pavilion with just 38 on the board, the game was up.

While Rashid had to make do with three wickets, off-spinner Mohammad Nabi wreaked havoc at the other end, bowling unchanged to finish with six.

Ireland have two games remaining in their defence of the I-Cup but the title is now out of their own hands if Afghanistan take maximum points against Hong Kong and UAE.

Ireland host the Netherlands in August before wrapping up their campaign against Scotland in the UAE, probably in October.

Their finishing position, in the grander scheme of things, could yet be immaterial if both Afghanistan and Ireland are fast-tracked to Test match status by the ICC Council in June but for now they are a distant second to Afghanistan in all three formats.

Only Stirling, in his one-day form - the pain prevented him batting any higher than seven yesterday because of his fractured finger - would get into a composite team which, while remarkable, is a reflection of Afghanistan's dominance of the last three weeks, a 7-2 victory when the heat on and off the field was just too much for Ireland.

Afghanistan 1st innings (Asghar Stanikzai 145, Afsar Zazai 103 not out, Mohammad Shahzad 85, Nasir Jamal 73; G Dockrell 3-160)

IRELAND 1ST INNINGS

(overnight 170-7, A Balbirnie 62)

J Anderson not out 61

A McBrine lbw b Nabi 18

T Murtagh lbw Zahir 2

P Chase c Rahmat b Shahzad 16

Extras (28b 4nb) 32

Total (91.4 overs) 261

Fall: 1-6 2-123 3-127 4-143 5-162 6-164 7-170 8-213 9-220

Bowling: Mohammad Nabi 20.1-6-45-2, Dawlat Zadran 14-2-48-0, Rashid Khan 31-5-99-5, Zafir Khan 19.5-5-35-2, Rahmat Shah 6.4-4-6-1

IRELAND 2ND INNINGS

W Porterfield c Rahmat b Dawlat 8

E Joyce b Nabi 11

A Balbirnie c Afsar b Rashid 13

J Anderson lbw b Nabi 0

N O'Brien c Afsar b Rashid 15

G Wilson lbw b Rashid 15

P Stirling c Rahmat b Nabi 1

A McBrine c Dawlat b Nabi 14

G Dockrell c Shahzad b Nabi 10

T Murtagh st Afsar b Nabi 0

P Chase not out 11

Extras (5b 1lb) 6

Total (40 overs) 104

Fall: 1-8 2-26 3-37 4-38 5-56 6-69 7-69 8-83 9-83

Bowling: Dawlat Zadran 6-1-14-1, Mohammad Nabi 20-6-40-6, Rashid Khan 14-4-44-3

Afghanistan won by an innings and 172 runs

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