Ireland v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Belfast May 28, 2011

Junaid stars in easy Pakistan win

The Bulletin by Gerard Siggins

Pakistan 97 for 3 (Hafeez 52) beat Ireland 96 (Stirling 39, Junaid 4-12, Ajmal 3-7) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ireland's first game since their World Cup heroics proved a disappointment for the 2000 spectators that turned up to see the first of the two-ODI series against Pakistan, who won by seven wickets with more than eight overs to spare. A typically steely grey, showery Belfast day, prevented play from commencing until 2pm. And with conditions helpful to the seamers, Junaid Khan ripped the Ireland middle order apart with four wickets in five overs. A 38-over game was the original plan - and a 36-over one after a short break - but Ireland conspired to reduce it further when they were bowled out in exactly 20 overs.

The total of 96 was pitiful - Ireland's lowest since the 2007 World Cup Super Eights - especially after Paul Stirling had thrilled the home fans with a startling innings of 39 off just 22 balls. Stirling, 20, who also plays for Middlesex, had finished off his World Cup with a match-winning 100 off 71 balls against Netherlands, and was on a similar trajectory here as he helped himself to seven fours and a six.

His opening partner was Ed Joyce, who switched places in the order with William Porterfield. Joyce had been keen to move up during the World Cup, but coach Phil Simmons resisted changing an established opening pair. But Porterfield was soon replacing Joyce, dismissed by Tanvir Ahmed.

Stirling took a liking to Tanvir, who bowled too short. His next over went for 19, including an enormous six over mid-on. Stirling took 12 off Umar Gul's next over, and clipped Junaid's first ball to the boundary when he came on to bowl the sixth over. Four balls later he was gone, skying the ball to cover where Mohammed Hafeez sprinted 20 yards, and dived full length. From 44 for 1, Ireland steadily lost wickets as Junaid made good use of the seaming conditions.

Alex Cusack, promoted to No.4 in the absence of the injured Niall O'Brien, was bowled in the last over of the Powerplay, which yielded 49 runs and three wickets. Porterfield followed for 4, caught behind trying to fend off a rising ball from Gul. Kevin O'Brien, having exchanged his dyed pink hair for his natural orange, gave his fans a small taste of his World Cup pyrotechnics. But, on 15, he tried to cart Junaid through the covers and saw his stumps demolished.

Soon enough, Ireland were floundering at 66 for 6. Gary Wilson, who replaced Niall O'Brien behind the stumps, briefly showed his World Cup batting form before the rain returned. After a 20-minute break the innings was recalculated as 36 overs. But there was little chance as many overs would be required; the Ireland batsmen failed to cope with a disciplined attack in tricky conditions. Saeed Ajmal claimed 3 for 7 off his three overs, including Trent Johnston and Boyd Rankin off successive balls. Younis Khan, who had taken two wickets in his previous 221 ODIs, induced John Mooney to carve to cover and a three-figure score proved beyond Ireland.

Rankin and Johnston bowled nine overs before the interval, which were negotiated safely by Taufeeq Umar and Mohammed Hafeez. Hafeez's six into the trees at square leg off Rankin gave the large Pakistani contingent more to sing about. The openers continued steadily towards their target after tea, and had made it to 73 when Stirling took a sharp catch at slip off Cusack.

Cusack's gentle medium-pace fetched him three wickets but Ireland had too little on the board, and the end came with 8.3 overs to spare.

"We've let a lot of people down today", Porterfield admitted. "We played too many poor shots on that wicket, nobody got their head down to forge a partnership. It wasn't a gung-ho situation, but too many of the batsmen made poor decisions."

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was happy with the result, his first success in his new phase as ODI captain, achieved in conditions vastly different to those they experienced four days earlier on the other side of the North Atlantic. It was some measure of revenge for the only previous ODI meeting between the sides, the famous Ireland victory at Sabina Park in the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. A small group of Pakistan fans chanted "No more Ijaz Butt" during the presentation ceremony. The Man-of-the-Match award was deservedly picked up by Junaid.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Imran on May 31, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Reading some of these comments makes me laugh, Indians slating Pakistan team and visa versa, come you fools lets be serious, India are a great team one of the best and to be honest so is Pakistan we may have our weak batting, but India also have thier weak bowling, as seen in thier recent NZ series, I think bowlers like Zaheer khan have helped Indis so much, once he goes where are your best bowlers going to come from, who is there to replace old players. Lets move on to thier batting well, lets see Tendulkar soon to go, Sehwag is no spring chicken, you have a few young players but are there any test batsmen out there VVS is almost gone, Dravid gone, Yuvraj is eating too many pies, Kohli, Raina, is there anyone else out there?? Spin India have Harbhajan, who after him?? Ashwin?? Mishra?? Pakistan well we all know bowling has always been sensational so good that neutrals always love watching Pak fast bowlers, man there have been some!!!rippers over the years and still Pakistan produce

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    I was hoping for an Ireland vs Pakistan comments but instead I get Pakistanis and Indians bashing each other...ridiculous...anyways congrats to Ireland for fighting back and I really think the ICC is being unfair to them.

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    people like Nihal & venki start absolutely useless discussion that Pakistan won only from WI, Ire and our batting lineup is the worst and all that, that too on a wrong page, may be they got their answer from Faraz Ali. Thank you

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    Why on earth are people discussing Pakistan vs India over here? This is about Pakistan vs Ireland. Ireland are a good team, luck wasn't on their side this time. I think they'll be doing a lot better in the 2nd ODI

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    @Nihal Gopinathan, Venki_indian: and yeah may be you forgot that it was Pakistan's bowling that restricted the most favorites in the WC to merely 177, Australia, winning three world cups in a row, 34 matches winning streak in the world cups, and Indian bowling let them score almost a 100 more runs in the next match. and not to mention we won from another team of the favorites, as well as the home team, Sri Lanka. and yeah India could ONLY get to 260, DESPITE getting many lives against us, even though India was playing in the home ground.

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    @Nihal Gopinathan, may be you forgot that Umar Gul was one of the premiere bowlers of the WC, so what if he didnt perform in one match, we had Wahab Riaz who literally ripped through Indian batting line up, completely. so-called strong batsmen like Kohli(9), Yuvraj(golden duck), even Dhoni(25) couldnt stand against him! and let me remind you, WC's second best bowler, Zaheer went for 18 in the WC final, and guess what who got the best him, Parera, who averages merely 16. and your talking about Sehwag (and established batsman) hitting Gul! and please dont repeat the same thing about the our batting, its already known that we're not good in batting, and your team is worthless in bowling, Eng scored 338, getting easily at your total, while they got beaten by Ireland, wow amazing bowling i gotta say. India has one of the WORST bowling attack in the world, wait even the word "attack" doesnt seem good here.

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    @Venki_indian: Pakistan just came out among the top 4 at the world-cup. I want to see you telling England, Australia and South Africa fans that they are minnows, because pakistan can only be better than minnows. @Sufyan Ul Haq: Pakistani captains have Imran Khan to look up to. They hardly need Dhoni as a role-model, with all due respect to him. @Venki_indian: Pakistan has only beaten Ireland and West Indies because it has only played against them! We won't play any top sides before going to Srilanka late in the year. @Nihal Gopinathan: The same argument applied to you when Strauss's otherwise hapless team managed to tie India in the world-cup. The best batting couldn't make up for the worst bowling. @Venki_indian: He didn't show it as your weakness. He just said you made only 260 DESPITE us helping you so much.

  • Muhammad on May 29, 2011, 12:25 GMT


  • venkat on May 29, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    @Ayaz Noor M Giving 4 chances in world cup semis is your waekness and failure, dont show it as ours buddy..

  • Dummy4 on May 29, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    I was upset about yesterdays game but I still think we can turn it around on monday but to say that Ireland is not good is just unfair,

    Porterfield said the team know what went wrong and I believe they won't turn up like that again, not that the bowlers did wrong, had we simply put 50-100 runs more on the board it could have been so different, Misbah was plumb for LBW and they had already lost 3 wickets chasing the target as it was,

    I love the Irish Cricket team and will always back our guys, as I said before the game Joyce, Porterfield, Stirling, need to step up as the top players I know they're, Joyce is regarded as a better play we have produced then Morgan and he needs to show it on Monday, if it means he has to protect his wicket by grinding out a score so be it,

    Irish Cricket fans do deserve more and we will produce it,

    as ever an Irish Cricket fan who blindly follows the team despite being wrong a lot of the time...

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