Batting first, Afghanistan’s batsmen took full toll on the Irish bowlers to rack up a mammoth 278-3 in their 20 overs. It is the highest total ever recorded in a T20 international, beating the previous highest score of 263-3 by Australia against Sri Lanka in 2016.
It was opening batsman Hazratullah Zazai who was the star of the show with the left-hander amassing an unbeaten 162 off just 62 deliveries with the help of a staggering 16 sixes and 11 boundaries.
The 16 sixes struck from Zazai’s bat is now the world-record for the most by any batsman in a T20I, overtaking the 14 sixes slammed by Aaron Finch against Zimbabwe.
Zazai’s 162, however, fell 10 runs short of the highest individual score in T20Is which was recorded by Finch during his innings of 172 against Zimbabwe.
Zazai and Usman Ghani put on a sensational opening stand on Saturday with the duo adding a world-record 236 runs for the first wicket. The previous highest opening stand in T20I cricket was the 223 runs added by D’Arcy Short and Finch against Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan batsman Hazratullah Zazai hits:— Sir Jadeja fan (@SirJadeja) February 23, 2019
👉Highest no. of sixes in a T20I (16)
👉3rd fastest century in a T20I (42 balls)
👉2nd highest individual score in a T20I (162* off 62 balls)
As Afghanistan hits highest ever score in a T20I 278/3. #AFGvIRE pic.twitter.com/Xj16wWforv
Ghani was ultimately dismissed for a 48-ball 73 but Mohammad Nabi continued Afghanistan’s onslaught in a five-ball cameo that included two sixes and a boundary.
In total, Afghanistan struck a whopping 22 sixes in their innings on their way to 278-3.
Ireland fought fire with fire with skipper Paul Stirling starting off his side’s chase with a first-ball six off Mujeeb ur Rahman. Stirling registered the highest score by an Irish batsman in T20Is before he was dismissed for a 50-ball 91.
Once Stirling departed, it was star leg-spinner Rashid Khan who took control for Afghanistan with a four-wicket haul that sealed a crushing win for his side.
The Afghans have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series with the final T20 set to take place at the same venue on Sunday.
Hazratullah Zazai: 162 not out (62)
Usman Ghani: 73 (48)
Paul Stirling: 91 (50)
Rashid Khan: 4-25
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