Pakistan tour of Ireland 2011 March 25, 2011

Ireland to play Pakistan in May

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland will play Pakistan in a two-match ODI series in May this year. The teams last played each other in an ODI in the 2007 World Cup, when Ireland pulled off a shock win on St. Patrick's day and knocked Pakistan out of the tournament. They have got progressively better since then and stood out among the Associate teams in the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent, beating England in a stunning chase, seeing off Netherlands, running Bangladesh close and competing well against India and West Indies.

The ICC's decision to stick to their plans for a 10-team tournament in 2015 was a setback to Ireland's chances but increasing opportunities to play top teams - Sri Lanka have agreed to a tri-series later this year - marks a welcome development for them. "Following our recent World Cup campaign, the need to play the world's best teams on a more regular basis has become more pressing than ever to give us the experience to continue to compete at the highest level," Cricket Ireland chief Warren Deutrom said.

"This is what we have been crying out for - fixtures against the top teams in the world," Ireland coach Phil Simmons added. "We have shown just how much our cricket has improved, and by playing these type of games, it'll keep growing in the right direction. We're due to play Sri Lanka and England as well this summer, so that's definitely a step in the right direction as far as Irish cricket is concerned."

The two ODIs against Pakistan will be played at Stormont, Belfast on May 28 and May 30.