Balbirnie wary of Afghans

19 March 2018 11:17:51 EST

Andrew Balbirnie says Ireland will have to be at the top of their game to defeat Afghanistan and remain in the hunt for a World Cup place.

In a jog-jam at the top of the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe, several countries are still chasing a passage through to the competition proper in England in 2019.

Balbirnie's hundred on Sunday - that saw him pass 1,000 one-day international runs - helped atone for the sub-standard display against hosts Zimbabwe 48 hours earlier and also contributed to Scotland losing their unbeaten record, setting up the chance for William Porterfield's team to finish in the crucial top two spots.

Ahead of the final Super Six contest against Rashid Khan's team, Balbirnie said: "As a batting unit we needed to perform after Friday and we did that. We know Afghanistan, they have had an up and down tournament but they are world-class players and we will have to be at the top of our game."

Of his innings against the Scots, he added: "It certainly was not a highlights package, I had to get the nitty-gritty stuff and a lot of singles. But to come away with a hundred in a must-win game, that's very satisfying.

"It was not that easy a pitch to get in on, so I just thought I could bat as long as I could, get a score and others could come and bat positively and that is what happened."

Afghanistan are 1/8 to beat the UAE on Tuesday.

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