Ireland out for revenge as Afghanistan come to town
There is no lack of motivation for Ireland as they prepare for Afghanistan's visit, after Afghanistan pipped them to a place at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in March.
Ireland v Afghanistan
Monday, 20 August, 16:00 Local (16:00 BST)
Afghanistan secured progression to next year's World Cup with a five-wicket victory over Ireland in Harare, a result which the home side's head coach, Graham Ford, believes will give his players 'extra added incentive' ahead of the clash.
The teams have developed something of a rivalry since being instated as ICC's newest Full Members, and matches between the two have produced some enthralling battles.
The tourists are marginal favourites going into the T20I series having won the last five 20-over bout between the two sides, but Ir eland have an opportunity to even the scales in the three matches on home soil, followed by three ODIs.
The teams have not met in T20Is since March 2017 and since then Afghanistan have leapfrogged Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to No.8 in the MRF Tyres rankings, while Ireland are in 17th place.
With a bowling attack that boasts household names such as Rashid Khan, the MRF Tyres No.1 ranked bowler in this format, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, another excellent young spinner who has made headlines in the IPL, the home batsmen will have their work cut out. Afghanistan also come into this tour having thumped Bangladesh 3-0 in their most recent T20I series.
Gary Wilson took the captaincy from William Porterfield in June, and he will be thankful for the return of fast bowler Boyd Rankin after injury. Youngster Joshua Little, who is just 18, and 20-year old uncapped David Delany have both made the squad, but the spine of the team is still held up by the likes of Porterfield and the O 039;Brien brothers, who all have had extensive international careers.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) - He's the world's best bowler in the shortest format for a reason, and he's still only 19. After breaking onto the scene in the IPL in 2017, his career trajectory has been nothing but upward, and a tight yet penetrative bowling style can be at times unplayable. He is Afghanistan's star man who plays with an infectious smile, and Ireland will need to figure out how they are to negotiate his allocated four overs if they are to get anywhere near a big total.
Boyd Rankin (Ireland) - At 6ft 7i n, he's a towering figure and a menacing prospect to face, but it's Rankin's guile and international pedigree that could unlock this relatively inexperienced Afghanistan side. Keeping the tourists' runs down will be key, as the Afghanistan bowlers do have a knack of sucking the life out of a batting order in this format.
Monday, 20 August - 1st T20, Bready CC, Derry
Wednesday, 22 August - 2nd T20, Bready CC, Derry
Friday, 24 August - 3rd T20, Bready CC, Derry
Monday, 27 August - 1st ODI, Civil Service CC, Belfast
Wednesday, 29 August - 2nd ODI, Civil Service CC, Belfast
Friday, 31 August - 3rd ODI, Civil Service CC, Belfast