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March 17, 2007
Before Ireland started their World Cup campaign, their only two wins in eight ODIs had been against Scotland and Bermuda. In this tournament, though, they have played inspired cricket, sneaking a tie against Zimbabwe when all seemed lost, and then delivering the coup de grace on St Patrick's Day by shutting Pakistan out of the tournament in what should rank among the greatest upsets in history.
In conditions offering swing, seam movement and bounce, Ireland's bowlers delivered in the channels that would have done Glenn McGrath and Shaun Pollock proud. Relentlessly, they probed the corridor outside off - out of 243 balls bowled, 240 pitched around middle stump or further to the offside. The lengths were pretty good too, with 163 landing on a good length. When they did err, they did so on the fuller side - 57 deliveries were full and only 23 short - which was perfect for the conditions.
All the bowlers had good figures, but the outstanding one was Andre Botha, whose eight overs of medium pace went for just five and fetched two wickets, including that of Inzamam-ul-Haq. He finished with a staggering economy rate of 0.62 runs per over - among bowlers who've delivered at least eight overs in a match, only four have done better.
|Bowler||Overs||Maidens||Runs||Wickets||Econ Rate||Opposition, venue, year|
|Bishan Bedi||12||8||6||1||0.5||East Africa,Leeds,1975|
|Curtly Ambrose||10||5||5||1||0.5||Sri Lanka,Sharjah,1999|
|Sunil Joshi||10||6||6||5||0.6||South Africa,Nairobi,1999|
|Andre Botha||8||4||5||2||0.62||Pakistan,Kingston, 2007|
|Richard Hadlee||12||6||10||0||0.83||East Africa,Birmingham,1975|
|Shaun Pollock||8||4||7||3||0.87||Zimbabwe,Port Elizabeth,2000|
So uncomfortable were the Pakistan batsmen that none managed to score than Kamran Akmal's 27. The greatest contribution to their meagre total came via the 29 extras that Ireland gave away. It was only the tenth time in World Cup games that extras had top-scored in an innings. (Click here for the previous nine instances.)
The result also meant the World Cup career of one of the best modern-day batsmen will probably come to a close on March 21, when Pakistan play their last match of the tournament. Inzamam is highly rated among the top batsmen in the last 15 years, but in the biggest tournament of all, his record remains a modest one - just 680 runs in 32 innings at an average of 23.45, well below his career average of more than 39.
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