FAN FOLLOWING

First-person reports from the stands

Ireland v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Dublin

May 27, 2013

Clontarf goes to Karachi

Gary Murphy


The victorious Pakistan team pose with the series trophy, Dublin, May 26, 2013
A near-perfect day of cricket... Except for the ending, since the home team lost © AFP
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Choice of game
We don't get many chances to see top-level cricket in Ireland so this weekend game was a must-see. After the first match ended as a tie, I felt this match could turn out to be another classic.

Team supported
I am a die-hard Irish fan and fervently hoped to see our boys achieve their first home win against a Full Member side. I was also looking forward to watching some of the world-class Pakistani players such as Kamran Akmal and Mohammed Hafeez in action.

Key performers
Ed Joyce played one of the most serene innings seen at this venue, with Kevin O'Brien providing a strong push at the end of the innings. The Ireland seamers soon set to work on disassembling the visitors' top order but the man that mattered most was Kamran Akmal who paced his innings to perfection and brought Pakistan back into the game.

One thing I'd have changed
As fantastic as Akmal and Wahab Riaz's assault was, a historic Irish victory would have been preferable to watch. Towards the end it seemed that we could have been treated to another last-ball finish but it wasn't to happen.

Face-off I relished
The match-up I most relished was Kevin O'Brien taking on the Pakistan attack. O'Brien's power-hitting is one of the great sights of the Irish game and for a while at least he put on great show, with a series of punishing sweep shots entertaining the crowd. However, he perished after attempting one big shot too many. It was good while it lasted.

Wow moment
With the required rate climbing Abdur Rehman attempted to smash Alex Cusack through the covers, but O'Brien had other ideas, diving to his right and scooping the ball inches from the turf after it had gone already past him. It was a stunning catch and the crowd acknowledged it.

Shot of the day
Joyce was quickly running out of partners, and time to reach his century towards the end of the Ireland innings, so he decided to just get it over with quickly. He skipped down the wicket and seemed to simply flick the ball off his legs but it flew over cow corner, bringing up his first ODI century for Ireland, to go with his hundred for England. The crowd knew the importance of the innings and showed it with long applause.

Close encounters
Nasir Jamshed had to endure a series of sarcastic cheers after some truly awful misfields on the square leg boundary and didn't seem to take kindly to it. Later, Niall O'Brien shared a few jokes with the spectators, including an offer for an intimate dinner later on.

Crowd meter
This was the definition of a partisan crowd, with Pakistani supporters outnumbering the Irish. The crowd was in great spirits though, with both sets of fans clearly just wanting a good day's cricket. The visiting supporters brought a vibrancy and colour not usually seen at matches in Ireland. They made great noises and created an unforgettable atmosphere, with Hindi-pop blaring out over the speaker system, the smells of chicken biryani wafting through the stands and the Dublin sun making a long overdue arrival to the summer. A little bit of Clontarf was transported to Karachi for the day.

Fancy dress index
The crowd was a sea of green for the day with Irish jerseys, Pakistani tops and other shades of green in between. The best I spotted was a young Pakistani supporter who'd turned an Ireland t-shirt into the opposition version with some clever application of tin-foil, paper and plenty of sticky tape.

Entertainment
The music was a bit hit or miss but the crowd danced to it anyway. Cricket Ireland brought in a Jumbotron for the game and it definitely provided an improvement to the old scoreboard. The lunch interval brought a hundred young kids out onto the playing surface for some games of Kwik cricket. The pace and enthusiasm they played with made it hard to look away. Other than that the entertainment had to come from the cricket, and it certainly didn't disappoint.

Overall
A day that lived up to everything in its billing. A vibrant crowd, some great weather and a fantastic game of cricket. This was a perfect advertisement for everything good about Irish cricket and it will have gotten many more fans after today. Irish cricket will only hope we get more days like this in the future to show what we can do on the field.

Marks out of ten
I'll go with an 8. Two marks were lost only because of the result which made the ending bittersweet after a near-perfect day of cricket. A pulsating crowd, hard-fought cricket and a very satisfying series; welcome to cricket in Ireland.

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Gary Murphy is a University student studying Science in Ireland. He gets down to the cricket any day he can and likes nothing more than sitting at the boundary edge under the sun. He dreams of being there on the first morning of the first day when Ireland play their first Test Match. In his spare time he plays the trombone in a jazz band.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Posted by   on (May 30, 2013, 23:28 GMT)

lol kaptaan, he gave them more credit than any Indian or English reporter would, great and totally unbiased article from Gary Ireland are definitely a talented side that I hope to see more of on the field.

Posted by   on (May 28, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

I'm a Pakistan fan, but the performance has shown by Irish team was wonderful. Full credit to Irish team. What I would have like to suggest for Irish team that they should play more matches. They more international cricket they play they will improve more and more. Best of luck to Irish team.

And plz come to play in Pakistan. We assure you of full security.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

What a great thrilling match it was .i must say Irish team has got telnet and they need to organise this kind of matches quit often .Best of luck buds

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

Ireland should get more series and in near future they should get a test status...

Posted by Khalid100 on (May 27, 2013, 17:28 GMT)

Moment of day for us was when Trent Johnston was fielding near the boundary line at long off, only few yards away from us. There were lots of DESI KIDS with small bats in their hands, looking for an autograph. Trent Johnston becomes angry with their attitude, asks them to wait or behave something like that and next thing, Wahab Riaz hits a six at long on and he is not able to stop it as it is high.... Classic. Overall I must say Ireland gave Pakistan full run for their money and fantastic day of cricket. Perfect weather, nail biter and at the end the GREEN team won. What else would you want from a game in Ireland :-)

Posted by Mike_Oxlong on (May 27, 2013, 16:16 GMT)

Must have been difficult to get a taxi in Clontarf that day

Posted by Desihungama on (May 27, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

I hope this is the start of bigger things to come for Irish Cricket and when Irish Cricket will see it's zenith they will reflect back to this series when it all began. Ireland must cash in on this opportunity and tour Pakistan. They will find an equally electrifying support in Pakistan. Go greens and cheers to both teams.

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (May 27, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

ireland has proved it again they are the best associated side .. infact better than some of the test playing nations too

Posted by brennomac on (May 27, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

Was a great game, with 8 overs to go and Pakistan on 9 an over to win, I thought we were going to win, but credit to Kamran and Riaz. All credit to Irerland and especially Ed Joyce.

When Pakistan batted Ed was fielding on the boundary - deep mid off or fine leg depending on which way the bowling was. Even after batting for most of Ireland's innings, he must have signed a couple of hundred autographs for kids between deliveries and also posed for dozen of photos with the kids. Great to see.

Posted by   on (May 27, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

peoples like to seen this kinde of thriller full cricket such great performance by irish crickter team there future is bright we say welcome in pakistan to irish team we provide you best hospitality and security

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