Three teams were recently in contention for the 3rd and 4th place on the Pool B table of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 – Pakistan, Ireland and West Indies. Earlier today, West Indies defeated UAE by 6 wickets and jumped to the third position. It was all down to the Pakistan vs Ireland match, which was also the last pool game of this World cup. The winner of this game was set to book a quarterfinal berth and the loser ready to be eliminated from the tournament.
In a must-win game for both the teams, Ireland put up a total of 237/10 in 50 overs. In reply, Pakistan comfortably chased the target for the loss of just 3 wickets and with 23 balls to spare. A fine hundred by Irish captain William Porterfield was overshadowed by Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed, who scored an unbeaten 101. The defeat sees Ireland bow out of the tournament and brings an end to their promising journey. Pakistan have made it to the quarterfinals and will face Australia in the 3rd quarter-final.
Ireland opt to bat, Stirling and Joyce depart early:
William Porterfield won the toss and elected to bat first. The Irish skipper got off to a great start while his opening partner Paul Stirling (3) was trapped leg before off Ehsan Adil’s bowling, in the 4th over. Ed Joyce (11) and Niall O’Brien (12) too fell early but Porterfield kept adding the runs and got to his half century.
Afridi, Ali apply brakes
Shahid Afridi, who was playing the 397th ODI for his team, was introduced into the attack and the leggie was successful in bringing Ireland’s scoring rate down. He was well supported by Rahat Ali, who picked up the wicket of Niall O’Brien.
Sensing Ireland’s inability to capitalize on spin, Misbah-ul-Haq handed the ball over to part-timer Haris Sohail. He struck in his first over and got rid of Andrew Balbirnie. Irish wicketkeeper Gary Wilson joined Porterfield and added 48 runs for the 5th wicket. In the course of this partnership, William Porterfield got to his 7th ODI hundred but could not bat through to the end of the innings. A brilliant catch by Shahid Afridi at mid-off forced him to walk back into the dugout after scoring 107 off 131 balls.
Wickets tumble after Porterfield’s exit, Pakistan restrict Ireland to 237
William Porterfield’s wicket triggered a collapse as the Irish lower order failed to make significant contributions. The Pakistani bowlers did well to bowl Ireland out for 237. Wahab Riaz was the pick of the bowlers, and he finished with figures of 10-0-54-3.
Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed start aggressively
The new-look Pakistani opening pair of Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed got off to a flying start as they plundered runs in the mandatory powerplay. The likes of Alex Cusack, John Mooney and Stuart Thompson lacked incisive bowling abilities and offered a lot of width for the batsmen to play their shots. Shehzad was the aggressor while Sarfaraz Ahmed played second fiddle for some time. They added 122 runs for the first wicket before Shehzad misjudged a pull shot and ended up giving a simple catch to Ed Joyce at mid-on. He scored a well-paced 63 off 71 balls.
Misbah joins Sarfraz Ahmed to finish off the job
No. 3 batsman Haris Sohail could not add much to the scoreboard as he was run-out at the non-striker’s end by Andrew Balbirnie. Lack of co-ordination between him and Sarfaraz Ahmed resulted in the loss of the left-hander’s wicket.
In came Misbah-ul-Haq and Pakistan made a steady progress towards their target. He, along with Sarfraz Ahmed, scored runs comfortably by rotating the strike and by playing occasional big shots. Unfortunately, Misbah couldn’t bat till the end as he was dismissed hit wicket by Alex Cusack. Umar Akmal and Sarfraz Ahmed avoided all further hiccups and the latter got to his maiden ODI hundred. Pakistan won the match by 7 wickets and Sarfraz was adjudged the Man of the Match.
So that marks the end of the pool stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Pakistan’s victory over Ireland has earned them a 3rd place finish in Pool B, after a horrendous start to their campaign. The Irishmen on the other hand impressed one and all in the matches they played but back to back losses against India and Pakistan meant that they lost out on a top-4 finish. West Indies manage to hold on to the 4th place, owing to a better net run rate.
Ireland 237/10 in 50 overs (William Porterfield 107, Gary Wilson 29, Wahab Riaz 3-54, Sohail Khan 2-44) lost to Pakistan 241-3 in 46.1 overs (Sarfaraz Ahmed 101*, Ahmed Shehzad 63, Alex Cusack 1-43) by 7 wickets.