McCarthy comes in from the cold to fire Ireland to victory
Barry McCarthy took 18 wickets in his first seven one-day internationals last year, but since then had played in only eight of Ireland's 29 games until he was recalled yesterday.
Despite being on four overseas tours in the last 12 months he was called into action only three times, but all that waiting and training was rewarded when the 25-year-old Durham professional took his maiden five-wicket haul to bowl Ireland to a stunning series-levelling 51 runs victory.
To bounce back with a total of 271 for nine, after being bowled out for 100 by spin twins Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran in the first game on Tuesday, took great willpower and not a little skill.
When Peter Chase - in for the sick Boyd Rankin - bowled Mohammad Nabi, Ireland took control, helped by a superb catch by Stuart Poynter inches above the ground at short mid-wicket.
McCarthy then returned and with the fifth ball of his comeback over he had Nasir Jamal caught at extra cover, and his next ball ripped through the defences of Shafiqullah.
In his next over he trapped Dawlat Zadran plumb in front to put Ireland one wicket away from victory.
That came in the next over via a run out when Mujeeb dropped his bat just before the crease and Chase whipped off the bails to ensure that it comes down to the last game on Sunday.
McCarthy duly received the man of the match, but on another day George Dockrell's 62 from 48 balls with seven fours and a six would have been a contender as Ireland scored 42 off the last five overs.
At the start, Porterfield and Paul Stirling's fourth century stand had tamed the Afghan spin twins Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran, the latter going for 25 in his first five overs, one more than he conceded in all 10 on Tuesday.
W Porterfield c Stanikzai b Gulbadin 47
P Stirling lbw b Rashid 82
A Balbirnie lbw b Mujeeb 4
N O'Brien st Shafiqullah b Mujeeb 13
G Wilson b Rashid 0
K O'Brien lbw b Dawlat 11
S Poynter c and b Nabi 18
G Dockrell not out 62
B McCarthy b Dawlat 7
T Murtagh b Nabi 3
P Chase not out 0
Extras (13b 6lb 5w) 24
Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 271
Fall: 1-115 2-120 3-160 4-160 5-160 6-188 7-217 8-244 9-271
Bowling: Mujeeb Zadran 10-0-50-2 Dawlat Zadran 10-0-65-2, Gulbadin Naib 10-0-36-1, Mohammad Nabi 10-0-61-2, Rashid Khan 10-0-40-2
Javed Ahmadi c Dockrell b McCarthy 48
Ihsanullah b McCarthy 20
Rahmat st N O'Brien b Dockrell 32
Asghar Stanikzai c Wilson b Murtagh 12
Nasir Jamal c Porterfield b McCarthy 25
Mohammad Nabi b Chase 29
Gulbadin Naib c Poynter b Chase 3
Rashid Khan not out 16
Shafiqullah b McCarthy 0
Dawlat Zadran lbw b McCarthy 12
Mujeeb Zadran run out 0
Extras (3b 5lb 1nb 14w) 23
Total (45.2 overs) 220
Fall: 1-46 2-97 3-114 4-130 5-182 6-187 7-201 8-201 9-215
Bowling: T Murtagh 9-1-28-1, G Dockrell 9-0-42-1, P Chase 8.2-0-45-2, B McCarthy 9-1-46-5, K O'Brien 3-0-20-0, P Stirling 7-0-31-0
Ireland won by 51 runs