Pakistan edge out Ireland to clinch ODI series

Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 9:52 [IST]
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Pak edge out Ireland to clinch series

Belfast, May 31: Ireland put on a valiant effort to give Pakistan a run for their money in the second and final one-dayer of the latter's tour. But the hosts eventually went down by 5 wickets with 8 balls to spare as Pakistan wrapped up the series 2-zip. After the Irish amassed a moderately competitive total of 238/8, thanks largely to Paul Stirling's sterling innings of 109 off 106, Pakistan laboured their way to 242/5. Younis Khan top-scored with 64 off 74 balls while Umar Akmal played an impressive hand with 60 off 48.

Ireland called it right at the toss and opted to bat first. After a circumspect start to their innings, Paul Stirling's batting assumed an aggressive tone. He carted Junaid Khan for a six in the fourth over and after taking another boundary off the same bowler in the 6th, clobbered Umar Gul for a six and a four as the score moved along to 39/0 in 7 overs.

The fours kept coming, as Stirling took Ireland to 50 in 9 overs and pressed on with earnest dispatch. But the introduction of spin from Pakistan in the form of Saeed Ajmal immediately caused trouble for Ed Joyce, who was caught behind for 17 off 52 balls, with the score reading 65/1 in 14.3 overs.

Stirling quickly adapted to the tweakers' machinations, bringing up his 50 off Ajmal in the 17th over and lofting Mohammad Hafeez for a six soon after to take Ireland past 100. But new batsman William Porterfield couldn't quite find a groove and soon fell to the same bowler for 15 off 29 balls, as the hosts slipped to 108/2 in 23.5 overs.

Stirling continued his breezy innings and found a fairly capable partner in Alex Cusack as the two took their side to 150 in 34 overs. Three overs later, Stirling ran a single off Hamad Azam to bring up his century. The glowing landmark came off just 95 balls and included 7 fours and 4 sixes.

After Junaid Khan finally got rid of Stirling in the 44th over for 109 with the score at 182/3 in 43.1 overs, new batsman Gary Wilson immediately upped the ante by smacking the paceman for two consecutive fours. Cusack departed along the way for a slow 26 off 60 balls. Then Ajmal secured his second wicket when he foxed the destructive Kevin O'Brien for just 7 off 14 balls.

Wilson and John Mooney struck three fours between them before the latter was sent back for 6 runs, again by Ajmal. The wickets of Trent Johnston for 3 and Wilson for a quick-fire 33 fell in the final over which also yielded two fours with the Irish batting line-up signing off at 238/8.

In their reply, Pakistan didn't get off to a good start, losing Mohammad Hafeez for a duck to Trent Johnston in the second over. But Azhar Ali and Taufeez Umar steadied the ship, counter-attacking with a few fours as Pakistan crawled to 56/1 in overs. But two overs later Ireland were back in the game, when Kevin O'Brien dismissed Umar for 31 off 43 balls as the score read 67/2 in 17.5 overs.

Irish paceman Boyd Rankin then dismissed Azhar Ali for 39 off 65 balls as Pakistan slipped to 80/3 in 21 overs. Ireland was in with a sniff, but Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan spoiled their plans when they took Pakistan to 100/3 in 29 overs and 146/3 in 36 overs, before Mooney had Misbah caught behind for 32 off 54 balls.

Then Younis and Umar Akmal took Pakitsan over 150 in the 38th over and played with the right intent as their side crossed 200 in the 45th over. The boundaries and sixes came more frequently as a close end was in the offing. With just 2 runs to win off 12 balls, Pakistan lost Younis to Cusack for 64 off 74 balls, but Akmal ensured there would be no more jitters when he struck the winning boundary two balls later.

Oneindia Cricket

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