Pak end T20 WC campaign with win over Ireland

Florida, (UNI) In a tense finish, Babar Azam guided Pakistan to a three-wicket victory over Ireland, chasing down a modest target of 107 in their final T20 World Cup 2024 match here on Sunday.

Despite the inconsequential nature of the match for tournament progression, Pakistan secured a win to end their disappointing campaign on a positive note.

Pakistan’s innings started cautiously, scoring 40 runs for the loss of one wicket during the powerplay. The middle phase saw a flurry of wickets, with Pakistan losing five wickets for just 23 runs, leading to a precarious situation.

Babar Azam, who top-scored with 32, formed a crucial 33-run partnership with Abbas Afridi for the seventh wicket, bringing Pakistan closer to the target. Shaheen Afridi then sealed the victory with two sixes, easing the pressure on his team. Abbas Afridi contributed a valuable 17 runs.

Ireland’s bowling attack was commendable, especially during the middle overs. Barry McCarthy emerged as the standout bowler, taking 3 wickets for 15 runs in his four overs. Curtis Campher claimed two wickets, while Mark Adair and Ben White chipped in with one wicket each.

Earlier, Pakistan’s bowlers dominated Ireland, restricting them to a paltry 106 for nine.

Shaheen Afridi led the charge with figures of 3/22, supported by Mohammad Amir (2/11) and Haris Rauf (1/17). Imad Wasim’s left-arm spin proved crucial, as he picked up three wickets for just eight runs. Ireland struggled from the outset, reduced to 32 for six in the powerplay.

Gareth Delany top-scored with a brisk 31 off 19 balls, including three sixes and a four. Contributions from Mark Adair (15) and George Dockrell (11), along with a resilient 22 not out from Joshua Little, helped Ireland surpass the 100-run mark.

Ireland’s batting woes began early, with Afridi and Amir dismantling their top order within the first two overs.

Afridi struck twice in his opening over, dismissing Andrew Balbirnie (0) and Lorcan Tucker (2). Amir then had skipper Paul Stirling (1) caught behind, leaving Ireland at 4 for three.

Harry Tector briefly steadied the innings but was trapped LBW by Afridi, reducing Ireland to 15 for four after three overs. Dockrell managed two boundaries before falling to Amir’s slower ball. Curtis Campher’s mistimed pull shot off Rauf added to Ireland’s troubles, with the score at 32 for six.

Delany’s aggressive hitting provided a glimmer of hope, including sixes off Rauf and Shadab Khan, as he brought up Ireland’s fifty.

However, his counter-attack ended when Imad Wasim’s spin induced an edge, breaking a 44-run partnership and leaving Ireland at 76 for seven. Imad continued his excellent spell, dismissing Adair to further restrict Ireland’s recovery.

Despite the match being a dead rubber, Pakistan’s bowlers and key contributions from Babar Azam ensured they ended their T20 World Cup 2024 campaign with a victory.

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