It will be all to play for tomorrow in Ireland’s final match against Afghanistan after the tourists won yesterday’s penultimate game by 27 runs to level the five-match series at 2-2.

After a one-hour cloudburst less than an hour before the scheduled start of play, it was a miracle there was a game at all, but the Stormont groundstaff worked wonders to allow an 11-overs a side encounter to begin at 5.30pm.

It could yet prove good practice for Ireland down the line if a T20 World Cup match is reduced but the death bowling was again the major difference between the two teams.

After eight overs, Afghanistan were 79 for five but finished up on 132 for six and while Ireland had scored 80 at the same stage, they could manage only 25 from the final three overs, albeit with only three wickets in hand.

One of them was the indefatigable George Dockrell who has now scored 134 runs in the series without being
dismissed, but for the second match in a row he ran out of partners and was forced to turn down singles in the last over with No 11 Josh Little at the other end.

The first crucial dismissal in the Ireland chase came in the fourth over when Paul Stirling, after hitting three fours and a six, pulled a long-hop straight into the hands of Rashid Khan at long leg and then in the eighth over, Mark Adair and Fionn Hand were dismissed in successive balls by Naveen ul Haq to leave Ireland 69 for seven.

Even Dockrell couldn’t see them home from that position.

Before this series, Rashid Khan had never gone two T20 internationals without taking a wicket, so it was quite the feat for Ireland to keep him waiting until the fourth game before he had Gareth Delany leg before to claim his first wicket.

Barry McCarthy quickly gave him his second. McCarthy and the recalled Simi Singh were the two Ireland changes, for Graham Hume and Curtis Campher, but Singh, run out without facing a ball, bowled only one over in the reduced game.

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie bravely gave Delany the penultimate over of the Afghanistan innings after he had taken three wickets for 12 runs in his first two overs but, after McCarthy had conceded 20 off the ninth, his over went for 21.