Pakistan salvage pride with consolation three-wicket win over Ireland in their final T20 WC game


Sports, Cricket

Ireland had a nightmarish start as Afridi and Amir left them tottering at 4 for three in the second over.

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, third left, gestures as he leaves the field with captain Babar Azam after Pakistan won the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla., Sunday, June 16, 2024. AP/PTI

Lauderhill: Former champions Pakistan restored a semblance of pride with a toiling three-wicket win over Ireland in their inconsequential final game of the T20 World Cup here on Sunday.

The 2009 champions, who were eliminated following their loss to India and the USA in the earlier group matches, restricted Ireland to 106 for 9 after opting to bowl with Shaheen Shah Afridi (3/22) leading the show.

Despite chasing a not-so-daunting target, Pakistan's fragile batting was once again exposed as they slumped to 62 for six in 11 overs, raising the vision of another collapse.  But skipper Babar Azam (32 not out) and Abbas Afridi (17) shared a 33-run stand to take them home at 111 for 7 in 18.5 overs.

Shaheen Afridi hit the winning runs with two mighty sixes in his 5-ball 13 not out.
Pacers Barry McCarthy (3/15), Curtis Campher (2/24) and Mark Adair (1/24) bowled their hearts out but Pakistan stood tall in the end as Ireland ended their campaign winless.

While chasing, Pakistan opener Saim Ayub looked in good nick as he slammed a six and two fours before top-edging Adair to keeper Lorcan Tucker. Mohammad Rizwan hit three fours but was sent back by McCarthy when Pakistan were 39 for 2.

In the next three overs, Pakistan lost four quick wickets -- Fakhar Zaman (5), Usman Khan (2), Shadab Khan (0) and Imad Wasim (4) -- to find themselves in deep trouble.

Babar held on at the other end while Abbas made a 21-ball 17 and then Shaheen blasted two big blows to end the proceedings.

Earlier, Ireland had a nightmarish start as Afridi and Amir left them tottering at 4 for three in the second over.

The left-arm pacer Afridi struck twice in three balls, removing Andrew Balbirnie (0) and Tucker (2) in the opening over. Amir then had Ireland skipper Paul Stirling (1) caught behind to leave the top order in disarray.

Harry Tector survived a caught-behind appeal but was trapped by Afridi in the next ball with a fuller delivery that hit his back leg to reduce Ireland to 15 for 4 in three overs.

George Dockrell blasted two fours to ease the pressure a bit but he fell to a caught and bowled by Amir, who deceived him with a slower ball, as half of the Irish side returned to the hut within powerplay.

Rauf then joined the party, getting rid of Campher who went for a pull only to see the top-edge landing in the safe hands of Ayub.

Delany clobbered the first six of Ireland innings off Rauf in the 9th over, before hammering spinner Shadab Khan for a six over long-on to bring up the team fifty. Delany ended the over with a four after Rauf missed an overhead catch at the boundary.

Abbas was next in line for Delany as he smoked a pitched up delivery from the pacer over deep square leg for another maximum.

Imad was then introduced into the attack and he dismissed the dangerous-looking Delany with a ball that bounced and spun as the 44-run stand was broken reducing Ireland to 76 for 7.

The number 10 Joshua Little (22 not out) then threw his bat to take Ireland past the 100-run mark. But it was too late too little.