Pakistan, Ireland look ahead to T20 World Cup following Dublin series

The two sides took plenty from their three-match series in Ireland and will be full of confidence heading into the T20 World Cup

Pakistan and Ireland believe their recent T20I series in Dublin will hold them in good stead for next month's ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

Pakistan clinched a narrow 2-1 series triumph with a six-wicket triumph over Ireland on Tuesday and now travel to England for a four-match series against the reigning T20 World Cup champions ahead of the tournament in the USA and West Indies.

Pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi was in excellent touch during the Ireland series, with the left-armer collecting figures of 3/14 in the final match to finish as the leading wicket-taker across the series with seven scalps at an average of 12.71.

Series leading wicket-takers

Shaheen AfridiPakistan7
Abbas AfridiPakistan6
Mark AdairIreland5
Colin YoungIreland3
Imad WasimPakistan2
Naseem ShahPakistan2
Mohammad AmirPakistan2

Experienced batters Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan also found some form, with the pair scoring a half-century each in the series decider to complete the three-game series as the joint leading run-scorers with 132 runs apiece.

Series leading run-scorers

Babar AzamPakistan132
Mohammad RizwanPakistan132
Andy BalbirnieIreland128
Lorcan TuckerIreland128
Fakhar ZamanPakistan98
Harry TectorIreland98

Pakistan celebrate the series triumph over Ireland // Sportsfile

Shaheen paid tribute to the efforts of Babar and Rizwan and believes the series in Ireland has his team primed to perform well at the T20 World Cup

"For us, before the World Cup, it's important to have these games to ready ourselves and there are a few areas to improve," Afridi said.

"They're both world-class players (Babar and Rizwan); they know how to play their role and they have done really well on this pitch."

Iconic Partnerships - Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan | T20 World Cup

The form of Babar in particular will please Pakistan ahead of the T20 World Cup, with the skipper's innings of 75 coming from just 42 deliveries and featuring a joint career-best five sixes and an excellent strike-rate of 178.57.

Babar smashed four sixes from one Ben White over to put Pakistan in the ascendancy, combining with Rizwan for a partnership of 139 for the second wicket.

"We had good communication in the middle because we have played a lot of cricket together; we were trying to play on our strengths and the aim was to match with the run rate," Babar noted.

"Lots of positives for us to take and we were able to execute our plans.

"We have a big tournament coming up and this is good practice; we are now looking forward to the England series."

While Ireland were disappointed to lose the series, they will be buoyed by the performances of a host of their players as they head into another T20 World Cup campaign.

Andy Balbirnie was in good touch at the top of Ireland’s batting order, tall right-arm seamer Mark Adair collected five wickets and Lorcan Tucker hit a superb 73 in the final game of the series when filling in as captain for usual skipper Paul Stirling who was rested.

Tucker revealed he enjoyed deputising for Stirling during the series decider and the 27-year-old said there were plenty of positives for his side to take into the T20 World Cup

"It was brilliant and a great privilege to captain," Tucker said. "It would have been nice to start with a win.

"We set up a platform nicely but unfortunately, we couldn't finish well. We gave everyone a go with the ball. Credit to the lads, they bowled well in tough conditions.

"Maybe it was a bit disappointing with the result but we had positives from the series."

ICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024News