Rashid Khan became the first spinner to get a hat trick in a Twenty20 international as Afghanistan swept Ireland 3-0 with a 32-run victory in the third and final game on Sunday.
Mohammad Nabi’s 81 off 36 balls propelled Afghanistan to 210-7 after Ireland captain Paul Stirling won the toss and chose to field. Rashid’s 5-27 included the wickets of George Dockrell (18), Shane Getkate (2) and Simi Singh (0) off the first three deliveries of the 18th over to restrict Ireland to 178-8.
Kevin O’Brien top scored with 74 off 47 balls before falling to Rashid in the 16th over that took the game away from Ireland.
O’Brien and Andy Balbirnie (47) had kept Ireland in the hunt when they pushed the total to 72-1 in the first six overs.
Nabi (0-28) put the brakes on Ireland’s charge by bowling a steady four-over spell before Rashid got the important breakthrough by having O’Brien caught behind.
“Feeling very good that if you’re not doing well with the ball, then you’re doing well with the bat,” Nabi said after winning both man of the match and series awards.
Earlier, Hazratullah Zazai, who had smashed 162 not out on Saturday, provided Afghanistan with another brisk start by scoring 31 off 17 balls.
But Boyd Rankin dismissed Zazai and Usman Ghani (13) in the fifth over before Nabi single-handedly took the total beyond the 200-run mark by smashing seven sixes and six boundaries in his brisk knock.
Rankin (3-53) claimed wickets but conceded over 13 runs an over as Nabi scored boundaries at will.
Nabi was caught on the edge of the mid-wicket boundary in the 18th over.
“We were in the game 10-12 overs into the chase and then we just lost some wickets,” Stirling said. “I think if you get in, you really need to go big.”
Afghanistan beat Ireland by five wickets in the first match before posting 278-3 — a world record for a T20 international — in the second match on Saturday for an 84-run victory.
A five-match ODI series between the teams starts Thursday.