Today’s fixture between Ireland and Pakistan brought back some incredible memories. St Patrick's Day 2007 was the day that changed Irish cricket forever. I will never forget the reception leaving the hotel, the sea of green en route and having the support of my wife, my kids and my parents in the crowd. The party afterwards with family, friends and Ireland's loyal supporters in the Sunset Grande, Ocho Rios and, of course, the news that shocked the cricketing world, the death of Bob Woolmer. It’s hard to believe that eight years have passed.
Knowing how flat the Adelaide wicket has been this year, I wondered what Ireland would do if they won the toss. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had chosen to bowl first, but I was glad when they opted to bat, as this has been their strength throughout the tournament. At the toss it looked like a 260 plus wicket and it was always going to be a contest between Ireland’s batting and Pakistan’s bowling. This time around Pakistan got the cash, even without the dangerous Mohammad Irfan who was deemed unfit to play.
The first 25 overs passed with both teams trading blows, but none of them knockouts. Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce and Niall O'Brien came and went during this period and Rahat Ali took a valuable two wickets for Pakistan. William Porterfield made his 12th ODI 50 off 59 balls and looked determined to produce a skipper’s knock. The wicket looked a little slow which should have suited the Irish bowlers in the second innings.
When Andrew Balbirnie went for 18 in the 30th over it was left to the skipper whose previous highest World Cup score (85) came in the victory over Bangladesh in 2007. Porterfield made his way to his first World Cup ton, and first hundred against a Full Member, but failed to push on to a bigger score.
Ireland’s strong finish never materialised as Porterfield (107), Gary Wilson (29) and Stuart Thompson (12) all went in the space of five overs. When the fifth wicket fell, Kevin O'Brien came to the crease. However, he only faced 16 deliveries out of the next 50 balls and failed to make any real impact which proved costly.
Credit must go to the Pakistani bowlers who restricted Ireland to 237, only allowing 48 runs off the last 10 overs on a very good wicket.