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Balbirnie calls for consistency after Ireland fall short against Afghanistan


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Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie says Ireland need to be more consistent after losing their opening one-day international with Afghanistan.

Ireland fell just 16-runs short in Abu Dhabi.

Batting first, Afghanistan put together a total of 287-9, with opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz top scoring with 127.

Andy McBrine came away with figures of 5-29 as he made mincemeat of the Afghani middle order.

But Gurbaz's ability to stick around, coupled with a half-century from tail-ender Rashid Khan helped Afghanistan put together a respectable score.

Ireland didn't make the chase easy for themselves, with top order batsmen Paul Stirling, Kevin O'Brien, Balbirnie and Harry Tector only putting a combined 83 on the board.

The fifth wicket partnership of Curtis Campher and Lorcan Tucker helped steady the ship, with the latter sticking around to make 83.

But bar a 23 from Simi Singh, Ireland's tail didn't wag sufficiently to prevent Afghanistan claiming all 10 World Cup Super League points.

"We need to be more consistent," Balbirnie said afterwards, "We had a lot of starts there, including myself.

"Their player kicked on and scored a hundred and played really well. That was really the difference between the two sides.”

“But some of our guys are still finding their feet at international cricket and can take a lot of positives. To score 270 on the wicket was good – but in the end it wasn’t enough to win the game today.

Balbirnie added, "We pretty much knew what we were up against today with Afghanistan, and on a wicket that began to turn.

"I thought we played them pretty well today, they’re skilful bowlers, but we are just as skilful with the bat. We’ve just got to work as hard as we can off the pitch, and go again.

“We’ll probably have a day off tomorrow with the second and third games being so close together. We need to rest, but we also need to keep our skills up – and we’ll aim to collect 10 or 20 points over the next two games.”

The sides meet again on Sunday.

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Afghanistan Andrew Balbirnie Andy Balbirnie Andy McBrine Cricket Ireland Kevin O'Brien Paul Stirling World Cup Super League

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