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16 March 201508:36

Pakistan v Ireland – Key Moments

Pakistan triumphed and booked its place against Australia in the knockouts, with Ireland unable to replicate the result of the team’s famous 2007 World Cup clash

Pakistan v Ireland – Key Moments - Cricket News

Given Stirling’s strong form in the tournament, this was a key wicket for Pakistan to claim early.

It was all or nothing for Pakistan and Ireland in Adelaide on Sunday, with the winner earning the right to take on Australia in a quarter final and the loser packing its bags for a flight home.

Earlier, West Indies’ comprehensive victory over United Arab Emirates ensured the match became a virtual elimination final, with only a tie or poor weather allowing both teams to progress.

Ultimately, Pakistan triumphed and booked its place against Australia in the knockouts, with Ireland unable to replicate the result of the team’s famous 2007 World Cup clash.

After a determined century from the skipper William Porterfield, Pakistan’s bowlers ensured the rest of the batting line-up could not capitalise on his strong start, restricting Ireland to 237.

Defending a below-par total, it was always going to take something special from Ireland’s bowlers to win the match, but a century from
Sarfraz Ahmed and fifty from Ahmed Shehzad saw their team home.

Here are the key moments that shaped this crucial clash:

Stirling trapped

On an Adelaide wicket that looked full of runs, the captain who won the toss was always going to elect to bat first.

That honour went to William Porterfield who correctly called the fall of the coin, saying he hoped his team would continue to play with the freedom they had displayed throughout the tournament.

The body language from both teams was good was they strode on to the ground and Ireland needed a strong start to ensure a big total.

Unfortunately it was not to be, with Paul Stirling trapped plumb LBW in the fourth over by Ehsan Adil. Given Stirling’s strong form in the tournament, particularly his match-winning 92 against West Indies, this was a key wicket for Pakistan to claim early.

Porterfield dodges the 99 club

William Porterfield’s careful innings which offered few chances almost came to a disastrous end when the skipper was on 99.

Attempting to drive a delivery back down the ground, the chance of a return catch was offered to Rahat Ali, but the ball slipped through his fingers – mercifully also missing the stumps and saving Gary Wilson from an unfortunate run out – and went for four, handing

Porterfield his first ton of the tournament.

It was also the first time an Associate captain had scored a World Cup century.

Porterfield’s innings was the key to Ireland’s chances, with the next highest score provided by Gary Wilson (29).

While the Pakistan fielders dropped several chances, none ended up being costly.

Porterfield’s dismissal on 107 was a major breakthrough for Pakistan and threw the Ireland batsmen off-kilter, as they found themselves struggling to engage in big hitting in the latter stages of the innings.

O’Brien departs

This could cover the dismissal of either O’Brien brother, given the potency each brings to the Ireland batting line-up.
When Niall bundled a straight drive to Umar Akmal, Pakistan knew it had landed a major wicket and celebrated accordingly.

But arguably the dismissal of Kevin O’Brien in the 48th over was a bigger blow to Ireland – chasing late runs to bolster its total as much as possible after the loss to key wickets, some of O’Brien’s iconic big hitting would have been the perfect finish to the innings.

But O’Brien’s failed pull-shot off Wahab Riaz presented Sohaib Maqsood with an easy catch and one of Ireland’s most dangerous batsmen departed for eight runs, denying Ireland late extra runs to present Pakistan with a more intimidating total.

Close calls

Pakistan’s openers provided very few chances, if any, in their strong 120-run opening stand at Adelaide Oval.

Ireland needed early wickets to give itself the best possible chance of defending 237 but Ahmed Shezhad and Sarfraz Ahmed made a cautious start, slowly working themselves into the innings before opening up.

The only two “chances” to come Ireland’s way early were a nick which flew between wicketkeeper Gary Wilson and Paul Stirling at second slip, and another miss-hit which bounced short of Kevin O’Brien.

Sarfraz offers a rare chance

Sarfraz Ahmed played a very careful innings that provided Ireland few chances, but the best was certainly in the 16th over when an opportunity went begging.

An edge fell into Wilson's glove but the ‘keeper could not hold on. For a precious moment, Kevin O’Brien thought he had the breakthrough but it was not to be.

Unlike the drops in the Ireland’s innings, this one did prove costly. Ahmed was on 49 at the time and Pakistan was 93 without loss. Ahmed went on to make a ton and the first wicket would not come for another seven overs.

100 and victory

Sarfraz played a patient innings and was approaching his maiden ODI century as Pakistan approached victory.

In the nineties and with Pakistan still requiring 30 runs, he seemed to have ample time to score the ton before the match was over, but
that was before teammate Umar Akmal went on the attack, scoring 10 runs in four balls.

Another boundary to Akmal left just 11 runs needed by Pakistan, with Ahmed requiring six of those.

What followed was a patient game of blocking and artful strike rotation until Ahmed finally found the perfect opportunity to crunch a Dockrell delivery for four. It was a moment savoured by Ahmed, his teammates and the passionate Pakistan fans, who had been willing him to the milestone.a

His boundary also levelled scores, before Umar Akmal launched another four in the next over to seal victory and Pakistan’s place in the finals.