BELFAST: Ireland ended a run of eight successive Twenty20 international defeats after beating Afghanistan with just one ball remaining in a seven-wicket win in Belfast on Tuesday. George Dockrell struck the match-clinching boundary off the penultimate ball as Ireland, chasing 169, finished on 171-3. The result was Ireland’s first win in any form of international cricket this season, with the side also having suffered three one-day defeats. Ireland openers Paul Stirling (31 off 29 balls) and captain Andrew Balbirnie (51 off 38) got the hosts’ chase off to a good start with a stand of 61 in 7.3 overs at Stormont. Wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker maintained the momentum with 50 off 32 balls before Harry Tector (25 not out) and Dockrell (10 not out) gave Ireland a much-needed success. Earlier, spinner Dockrell took 2-7 and paceman Barry McCarthy 3-34, with opener Usman Ghani top-scoring with 59, including six fours and two sixes for Afghanistan. The tourists’ total of 168-7 was bolstered by 30 runs off the final two overs, with Ibrahim Zadran hitting an unbeaten 29 off 18 balls. The teams will return to Stormont on Thursday for the second of a five-match series. Brief scores: At Stormont Afghanistan 168-7, 20 overs (Usman Ghani 59; B McCarthy 3-34) v Ireland 171-3, 19.5 overs (A Balbirnie 51, L Tucker 50; Mujeeb Ur Raham 1-22) Result: Ireland won by seven wickets Series: Ireland lead five-match series 1-0.