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Porterfield backs Irish to finish the job



High belief: William Porterfield is sure Ireland can clinch a series win

High belief: William Porterfield is sure Ireland can clinch a series win

High belief: William Porterfield is sure Ireland can clinch a series win

William Porterfield is confident that Ireland can clinch the one-day international series against Afghanistan today (10.45am) after the hosts drew level with a nervy three-wicket win on Wednesday.

"The bowlers have been superb for 100 overs so far this week and if they can follow-up and if we have the same application with the bat as in the second game, and get a few more partnerships, then we can win the series 2-1," said Porterfield.

An Ireland victory would level the last 16 ODIs between the great rivals at 8-8 proving there is nothing between them in the 50-over format, although Ireland are two places and 20 points behind 10th-placed Afghanistan in the rankings table.

Having named an unchanged team after losing the first match, with the series still at stake no one, least of all James Shannon, George Dockrell and Josh Little - called into the squad on Wednesday to replace the injured David Delany - is expecting any changes today, although Afghanistan, with more faith in their squad, swapped two players from the first game to the second and could do so again today.

Rashid Khan has been contained to five wickets in the first two games and Ireland captain Porterfield is content with how they have been playing the world's best slow bowler.

"He was 1-20 from his first five overs and ended with 3-30 but we got over the line in a scrappy affair so we have played him alright," said Porterfield. "He is a very good bowler in conditions that help him so he is going to be difficult to play but I'm happy with how we've gone about him."

The most successful bowler this week, however, has been Tim Murtagh, who became the first Ireland bowler to take four wickets in consecutive ODIs as he bettered his previous best figures by one run from Monday (4-31) to Wednesday (4-30).

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"Obviously 4-29 would be nice on Friday and that will be three PBs in a week!" said his captain. "He's a fantastic performer, he's been doing it for 20 years and it's great to see him get rewarded."

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