LONDON - Ireland will face Afghanistan in a five-match one-day series at Belfast's Stormont ground in July, officials announced Tuesday. The teams are two of the world's leading non-Test or Associate nations. Afghanistan impressed again on the international stage during the recent World Twenty20 in India, where they caused losing finalists England to suffer a top-order collapse and beat eventual champions the West Indies in a group match.

For Ireland, the July 10-19 series will be their first five-match campaign and comes in a home season that also sees them playing two Test nations in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. "We're certainly getting close to the amount and variety of fixtures we need to continue our international development," Ireland coach John Bracewell said in a Cricket Ireland statement. "The more games we play in varying conditions the more we learn and grow as a cricketing nation." Former New Zealand off-spinner added: "I expect the five game series against Afghanistan will be tough and fiercely competitive. "They had an excellent series win in both ODI's and T20 against Zimbabwe last year, and continued that form in the World T20, beating the eventual champions West Indies, which was a fantastic achievement for them and the Associate cricket cause."