Ireland will kick start a full-tour against Afghanistan in India with the first of three Twenty20 Internationals in Dehradun on Thursday.
Ireland will come into the series in high spirits after their thrilling victory over the Netherlands in their final fixture of the quadrangular series. The visitors will rely on the experience of veteran Kevin O'Brien and skipper Paul Stirling, their leading run-scorers in the series.
Stuart Thompson, who claimed match-winning figures of 4/18 against the Netherlands, will be the spearhead of their pace attack. Contributions from slower bowlers like Simi Singh and George Dockrell will be crucial in the spin-friendly conditions in India.
Afghanistan have a winning record in Dehradun, their adopted home. They were impressive against Bangladesh in the T20I series last year, which they swept 3-0. Their positive record against Ireland – nine wins in 12 T20Is – will also give them confidence.
Afghanistan's world-class spin bowling arsenal, led by Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Zadran, will get assistance from the surface. The trio picked up 14 wickets between them in Dehradun in the series against Bangladesh.
In the absence of the rested Mohammad Shahzad, Hazratullah Zazai will be the main aggressor in the batting unit. The hosts will also rely on skipper Asghar Afghan's experience with the willow.