28th at the MCG in Melbourne. The match is scheduled to begin at 3 pm local time.
About the Match
The fact that Afghanistan’s match against New Zealand was abandoned without a ball being bowled on Wednesday, has had the effect of compressing the group, and has made qualification for the knock-out stages more of a lottery.
One win and a team previously seemingly out of contention can be back in it again.
That is certainly the case with the Afghans, who made a disappointing start to the tournament against England, when they were bowled out for 112, although their bowlers made the English batters work for their win.
Against New Zealand they definitely would have started underdogs, but, with another two days until they play again, they will benefit from the extra rest and time on the practice field.
Ireland have acquired the reputation as the competition’s giant killers. In the first group phase their defeat of the West Indies eliminated the twice winners from the tournament early.
Arguably, though, what they did on Wednesday against England topped that.
They had been here before, famously upsetting their neighbours in the longer form World Cup in 2011.
But this was a performance to rival that. After being put into bat and losing an early wicket, their second wicket pair of Andrew Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker shared a stand of 82 that threatened a very big total, until the English bowlers appeared to wrest control of the match back by taking that last nine wickets for the addition of just 54 runs.
However, the English reply began badly when they lost their skipper Jos Buttler, arguably the best T20I batter in world cricket for a second ball duck and wickets fell regularly as the scoring rate dipped below the required rate.
When the rain in Melbourne brought a premature end to the game, Ireland were five runs ahead at the same stage of the match and they could celebrate a famous win.
Following that loss to the Irish the Afghans had travelled to the Asia Cup, where they made a strong start to the completion, beating both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to top their group. But their form deserted them, and they lost all three games in the Super Four state of that tournament.
Nor have performances been very encouraging since touching down in Australia. They lost their first warm-up game with Bangladesh and their second with Pakistan had to be abandoned because of the weather.
It is difficult to know which version of Ireland will turn up in this tournament. Is it the team that lost their opening match to Zimbabwe, or recovered to beat Scotland and the West Indies?
That inconsistency has continued into the Super 12s.
Although they will be celebrating that win over the English, they should not forget how they lost to Sri Lanka in their opening match. Nor should they ignore how the middle and order collapsed in Melbourne.
Afghanistan v Ireland Head to Head
The pair have played each other 23 times previously in T20I cricket and Afghanistan leads their head to head record by 16 matches to 7.
They have met in World Cup qualifiers before, but never in the competition itself.
If the Irish are looking for encouragement, they did win the home series against the Afghans in the summer by three matches to two.
Afghanistan v Ireland Betting Odds
Organisers will have more than half an eye on the weather. Rain affected both their matches on Wednesday at the MCG in Melbourne, and, according to the forecasters, there is a high chance it will persist at least until the weekend.
However, assuming that the match does go ahead in some form, then Ireland will believe they have a good chance of winning this.
They won the series between these two countries in the summer, and have already claimed two big scalps at the World Cup in the form of England and the West Indies. For their part, the Afghans have not won a match since the group phase of the Asia Cup.
However, if the Irish have a weakness, it is that their batting is prone to collapses, and they have been known to struggle against spin, one of the strengths of the Afghan bowling attack.
But, another win for the Irish, and they could find themselves in an unexpectedly strong position.