Ireland have beaten Afghanistan by 68 runs in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers.
Opening batsman Paul Stirling scored 76 off 43 balls on Saturday, while veteran Trent Johnston’s superb all-round show in his last Twenty20 international helped propel the Irishmen to victiry.
The 39-year-old Johnston hit a rapid 62 off 32 with five fours and four sixes in Ireland’s strong total of 225-7 after they won the toss and elected to bat.
Medium fast Johnston – who will quit international cricket at the end of the year – took 3-34 with the ball, including Afghanistan top scorer Gulbadin Naib (43) and Samiullah Shenwari (5) off successive deliveries.
Stirling’s performance earned him man of the match, as Afghanistan were bowled out for 157 in 18.5 overs.
Johnston said before the match it had been a difficult decision to retire.
“I’ve racked my brains ever since I came back from the UAE tour in March,” Johnston said.
“It’s becoming harder to recover after matches now, so much so that I can hardly walk for a couple of days.”
Both teams had already qualified for next year’s tournament in Bangladesh.
Nepal finished third in the tournament with a five-wicket victory over United Arab Emirates in the playoffs.
The first phase of tickets sales for the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 started on 17 November and all the available tickets sold out within days.
More tickets will be made available in the second phase of tickets sales, which will start on February 1, 2014.
The tickets will be available via the ICC website and at nearly 100 official ticket sales counters located in MoneyGram outlets in specific branches of NCC and Agrani banks situated throughout Bangladesh.