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Match-winning century from Andrew Balbirnie steers Ireland to four-wicket win

An extraordinary hundred by Andrew Balbirnie has seen Ireland draw level with Afghanistan in their five-match ODI series.

In the second ODI in Dehra Dun, the 28-year-old batted his way to an unbeaten 145 from 136 deliveries, and admitted it was a knock you can only ‘dream of having’.

Ireland were set a target of 257 to win after Afghanistan’s lower-order batter Najibullah Zadran had struck a century of his own, playing at no.7.

But a 140-run partnership between Balbirnie and George Dockrell for the fifth wicket proved the match-winner in a four-wicket victory for Ireland.

Speaking after his ton, Balbirnie said: “There was a couple of scary moments but you’ve got to take that risk as they have got world-class bowlers in their side.

“We haven’t had practice the last two days because of the weather, so it’s been more of a mental battle watching videos of their main threats with the ball – and to be able to counter it today, and play a knock like that, is very special for myself and the team.

“When you go out and bat, you dream of having that kind of knock, so to do it is just great.

“We’re a very close team at the moment, we’re in the hotel spending a lot of time with each other, so just to be able to get that win, we’ll enjoy that tonight, and we’ll go again tomorrow preparing for the next game in two days.”

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