Up next are our cricket betting tips for this match and we’re about to explain in great detail why Ireland are the smarter bet of the two, in what on paper looks to be a good game between two well-matched sides.
Conditions play a huge part in the reasoning for the bet and Ireland’s extra matches under their belt at this World Cup does, too. But read on for the full story.
There’s also the toss winner prediction coming up next.
Recommended Bet: Back Ireland to win @ 2.26 with BlueChip
Afghanistan are favourites to win the game at 1.65. That’s probably just about justified.
In the likes of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi, they have top-class players who have featured in the likes of the IPL, Big Bash and CPL on a consistent basis over the years, proof that these guys are the real deal and that the best T20 franchises are prepared to pay the big bucks to get them on board.
Afghanistan are also slightly ahead of Ireland in the T20 ICC rankings; they’re 10th with Ireland 12th though admittedly, there isn’t much in it.
And despite the fact Ireland won the last Series between them, it’s the Asian side who are considerably ahead on the head-to-head.
So why are we going to back Ireland? The main reason is: conditions.
Ireland will have learnt a lot about where and how to bowl at the MCG (where this match is staged) and how to score their runs when batting from playing (and beating) England here.
Afghanistan will have had little or no experience of playing here at all over the years.
Given the conditions are likely to be wet and heavy because of expected rain, they will play into Ireland’s hands, not Afghanistan’s.
After all, those are the conditions the Irish are used to back home, not Mohammad Nabi’s men.
Afghanistan may also be a little undercooked. They’ve played just the one completed match so far, while Ireland will be playing their sixth match of the tournament so far.
So plenty of reasons to be siding with Ireland at 2.26.
On the one hand, Afghanistan will be quite glad of a no result against New Zealand after heavy rain meant that not a single ball was bowled, leading to the second ‘no result’ in the competition after the same had happened in South Africa vs Zimbabwe.
Glad because they went into that match against New Zealand as big outsiders, especially after the Black Caps had been so impressive against Australia.
On the other hand, a loss and a no-result isn’t the best way of starting the Super 12 Stage and they may have been happier if they’d been allowed to take their chances against New Zealand if the rain hadn’t come.
At this moment in time they’re the outsiders of the lot to progress.
But with both England and New Zealand failing to win (no result for New Zealand, shock loss for England against Ireland), they’re not completely out of it.
But they will be if they fail to win here and they’ll probably need to improve their net run rate to stay in the hunt. And their best chance of doing so is right here.
In their match against England, Rashid Khan was out first ball trying to hit a six but we still maintain he should bat higher than his current position at number eight.
If he’s around for 10-15 balls he could easily race to 25-30 and that could make all the difference.
Let’s see if Afghanistan are reading this!
Zazai, Gurbaz, I Zadran, Ghani, N Zadran, Nabi, Omarzai, Khan, Rahman, Ahmad, Farooqi.
Ireland Recent Form
Some people may claim that Ireland were just very fortunate in their win over England on Wednesday.
That England would have got to the total eventually with a well-set Moeen Ali at the crease alongside Liam Livingstone.
Or that if they’d hit just one more six before the rain came, they would have narrowly won the game that way.
Quite possibly, but we’ll never know.
Here’s what we do know: Ireland batted extremely well to get to what was at least a par score and that they bowled pretty well, too.
To dismiss world-class batsmen like Jos Buttler, Alex Hales and Ben Stokes for 10 or less takes some doing.
And it was of course those early wickets that put England under pressure and behind the required run rate.
So that when the rain came, it was Ireland who were ahead on DLS.
And that’s precisely why they won the match when it was eventually called off.
In truth, Ireland are somewhat unlikely to make the semis unless they win here, pick up two more wins from their other three matches and hope other results go their way.
But they’ve already done extremely well to qualify from a tough Group two weeks ago and have already secured a win in the actual World Cup, against England no less.
Whatever happens from here, the likes of Paul Stirling, Curtis Campher, Andy Balbirnie, Josh Little and Mark Adair have played their parts and will surely be welcomed back home as heroes.