Ireland's opener Paul Stirling Joins Virat and Rohit in the Elite list of T20I batsmen
On Wednesday, Ireland won the fifth and final T20I against Afghanistan at Belfast, and with this win, they also won the series 3-2. Notably, this is the first time ever that Ireland has beaten Afghanistan in a T20I series, which is certainly a big thing for Irish cricket.
But during the match, Irish opener Paul Stirling joined an elite group of batsmen in the T20 internationals. The 31-year-old played a small cameo of 16 runs off 10 balls, including one six and one four, to give his team a quick start in a rain-hit match.
However, during his knock, he completed 3000 T20I runs and became only the fourth batter in history to do so in T20 internationals. With this, he has joined the likes of the Indian skipper, Rohit Sharma, former skipper Virat Kohli and New Zealand opener Martin Guptill in the list.
Striling is also the only batter from Ireland to have crossed the 2000-run mark in T20Is and the next batsman is Kevin O'Brien, who announced his retirement recently, is in second spot, having scored 1973 runs. Notably, Suzie Bates, Meg Lanning, and Stafanie Taylor have also completed 3,000 runs in women's T20Is.
That means Stirling has become only the seventh batter overall to do so. The Irish all-rounder made his T20I debut against Pakistan in 2009. So far, he has played 114 matches and scored 3011 runs at an average of 28.41 and a strike rate of 134.84, with one century and 20 half-centuries.
Speaking of the final match, Afghanistan batted first and were at 95/5 in 15 overs when the rain stopped play. Usman Ghani was looking good at 44 off 40, and Azmatullah Omarzai was at 15*. Mark Adair and Joshua Little gave Ireland a good start, picking up three and two wickets, respectively.
The match was reduced after the rain, Afghanistan's innings was called off, and as per the D/L method, Ireland got the target of 54 in seven overs. They batted sensibly and made 56/3 in 6.4 overs, winning by seven wickets.