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Ireland fall short as Pakistan defeat knocks them out of World Cup

In the end, net run-rate sends Phil Simmons’ side home.

It was a tame end to an otherwise brilliant campaign.
It was a tame end to an otherwise brilliant campaign.
Image: James Elsby

IRELAND’S WORLD CUP campaign ended in disappointing fashion as a seven-wicket defeat to Pakistan in Adelaide saw them miss out on qualification for the quarter-finals by the narrowest of margins.

This morning’s result, as well as West Indies’ win over UAE in Napier, left Ireland on six points in Pool B alongside the Windies but Phil Simmons’ side are heading home because of their inferior net run-rate.

A tournament which promised so much, and provided plenty of highlights, ends with a sour taste in the mouth as Ireland fall agonisingly short of making history and miss out on a mouth-watering clash with Australia in the last eight.

The Boys in Green have flown the flag for the Associates in the World Cup, attempting to embarrass the ICC by upsetting the established order but with all the odds stacked against them, it was one hurdle too far.

Defending 237 at the Adelaide Oval, Ireland’s shortcomings with the ball were ruthlessly exposed once more as Pakistan coasted through to the knock-out stages with four overs to spare.

Victories over West Indies, UAE and Zimbabwe set-up this winner-takes-all showdown but Pakistan’s experience and class shone through on a day when Ireland knew they needed to play to their maximum to have any chance of bringing another Full Member to their knees.

Cricket WCup Pakistan Ireland Ireland's bowlers were unable to apply any sort of pressure Source: James Elsby

Having won the toss, captain William Porterfield played a lone hand with his seventh One-Day century as the rest of the batsmen faltered in the face of a hostile Pakistan bowling display.

There was a feeling of deja vú as a cluster of wickets, just like against India, put the brakes on Ireland’s innings and having stuttered to 237, the Boys in Green were always on the back foot.

Any hopes of exposing an oft-vulnerable Pakistan top-order faded with the sunlight in Adelaide with openers Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed breaking the back of Ireland with a destructive stand of 120.

Shehzad scored his maiden ODI hundred and became Pakistan’s first centurion at this World Cup as he anchored the run-chase with consummate ease. He remained unbeaten on 101 with Umar Akmal confirming Ireland’s fate by hitting the winning runs off Paul Stirling.

Earlier, Porterfield became the first Associate captain to score a hundred at a World Cup but it was in vain.

Just like it was against India last week, Phil Simmons’ side built a platform with the bat but were unable to accelerate the scoring rate as Pakistan applied the stranglehold with an exhibition in death bowling from their fast-bowling attack.

Cricket WCup Pakistan Ireland Porterfield scored a fine century but it was a lone hand Source: James Elsby

At 182-4, with Porterfield well set, Ireland had their sights on a total pushing 250+ on a slightly two-paced track but, Porterfield apart, none of the Irish batsmen were able to play fluently as wickets fell at regular intervals in the final 15 overs.

Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce were undone by Eshan Ali and Wahab Riaz respectively while Niall O’Brien, the hero of 2007 when Ireland beat Pakistan in Jamaica, slapped Rahat Ali straight to cover just as Ireland were beginning to wrestle back the momentum.

Porterfield played fluently, however. The left-hander was particularity strong behind square as he followed-up his half-century against India with another industrious and anchoring innings.

But once again it was a case of what might have been. Andrew Balbirnie, who has enjoyed an excellent campaign, top-edged Harris Sohail to short fine-leg and although Gary Wilson added 48 with his captain, the acceleration was curbed by a succession of wickets with five falling in the final ten overs.

Pakistan play Australia in Adelaide on Friday while Ireland begin the long journey home.

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Ryan Bailey

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