Ireland v Pakistan, Group D, Jamaica

Ireland hasten Inzi's World Cup farewell

S Rajesh and HR Gopalakrishna

March 17, 2007

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Inzamam-ul-Haq made just 1 in what is probably his penultimate World Cup innings © AFP

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.

Most economical match figures in ODIs (at least eight overs)
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ Rate Opposition, venue, year
Phil Simmons 10 8 3 4 0.3 Pakistan,Sydney,1992
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
Mike Hendrick 8 4 5 1 0.62 Canada,Manchester,1979
Arshad Khan 8 4 5 1 0.62 Bangladesh,Dhaka,2000
Andre Botha 8 4 5 2 0.62 Pakistan,Kingston, 2007
Chris Old 10 5 8 4 0.8 Canada,Manchester,1979
Ewen Chatfield 10 4 8 1 0.8 Srilanka,Dunedin,1983
Curtly Ambrose 10 4 8 2 0.8 Scotland,Leicester,1999
Glenn McGrath 10 4 8 4 0.8 India,Sydney,1999
Richard Hadlee 12 6 10 0 0.83 East Africa,Birmingham,1975
Asif Karim 8.2 6 7 3 0.84 Australia,Durban,2003
Carl Rackemann 8 4 7 3 0.87 India,Thiruvananthapuram,1984
Shaun Pollock 8 4 7 3 0.87 Zimbabwe,Port Elizabeth,2000
Andy Caddick 8 4 7 0 0.87 Zimbabwe,Harare,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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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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