Pakistan earn consolation World Cup win over Ireland

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi plays a shot during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match vs Ireland at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Florida, June 16. - AP PHOTO
Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi plays a shot during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match vs Ireland at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Florida, June 16. - AP PHOTO

LAUDERHILL: Pakistan needed allrounder Shaheen Shah Afridi to show off his bowling and batting skills in a three-wicket consolation win over Ireland on Sunday as both cricket teams bowed out of their disappointing Twenty20 World Cup.

Afridi destroyed Ireland’s top-order batters with 3-22 and then smashed a couple of sixes in his unbeaten 13 off five balls as he guided Pakistan to a scrappy 111-7 in 18.5 overs to win its last Group A game. Captain Babar Azam was 32 not out and helplessly watched another batting collapse before Afridi’s little cameo came to Pakistan’s rescue.

After Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first, Afridi’s twin-wicket burst in the opening over had Ireland reeling at only 2 runs for the loss of two wickets. Ireland lost another batter to make it 4-3, and was then 15-4 off the first three overs.

Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim grabbed 3-8 in four overs to restrict Ireland to 106-9 on a lively wicket which had been under cover for most of the last week because of heavy rain in Florida, which had prevented the previous three games at the tournament venue.

“We lost back-to-back wickets, but managed to get over the line in the end,” Babar said. “We’ve got to go home, chat and see where we lacked and then come back. We couldn’t finish off close games… we weren’t good as a team.”

Pakistan, which failed to chase down a run-a-ball target against rival India and lost to the U.S. in a major upset, nearly messed up against a spirited Ireland bowling attack. At 52-2 after eight overs, it looked comfortable before Barry McCarthy (3-15) and Curtis Campher (2-24) sliced through the brittle middle-order and Pakistan slipped to 62-6 in 11 overs.

Abbas Afridi, playing his first game in the tournament, made 17 off 21 balls before he too holed out with 12 needed but Afridi ensured Pakistan didn’t lose.

Ireland finished last in its group with three defeats and its solitary point coming against the US in a rain-abandoned game at the same venue. Pakistan finished third with four points behind qualifiers India and the United States.

Afridi’s mesmerizing left-arm swing with the new white ball came a bit too late for Pakistan, which didn’t advance for the first time at the T20 World Cup. Pakistan won the tournament in 2009 and was runner-up in 2022.

Afridi hit the top of Andy Balbirnie’s off stump in his second ball that darted into the right-hander, and then two balls later found the outside edge of Lorcan Tucker’s bat.

Afridi was so pumped up that Pakistan wasted both its reviews — against Harry Tector and Campher – inside the first 14 balls of the match. However, Afridi was lucky to win an onfield leg-before-wicket decision against Tector which the replays suggested could have been reverted had the Irish batter reviewed it.

Fast bowler Mohammad Amir (2-11) had Ireland on the mat at 28-5 inside the batting power play before Gareth Delany countercharged briefly by smacking three sixes in his breezy knock of 31 off 19 balls.

But Pakistan kept on coming hard at Ireland through Wasim’s spin. He had Delany caught at point off a leading edge in the 12th over before No 10 batter Josh Little resisted with an unbeaten 22 off 18 balls that gave Ireland some hope on a testing wicket.


"Pakistan earn consolation World Cup win over Ireland"

More in this section