Plays of the day

Stumped for an answer

Andrew Miller

June 15, 2009

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Paul Stirling pulls, Ireland v Pakistan, ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights, The Oval, June 15, 2009
Paul Stirling equaled his highest score with just one hit © Getty Images
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Report : Bulletin
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Teams: Ireland | Pakistan

Bowler of the day
Pakistan's spinners have enjoyed themselves against the minnows in this tournament. Last week, Shahid Afridi claimed 4 for 11 to derail the Dutch at Lord's, and today it was the turn of Saeed Ajmal to make his class count. In three consecutive overs in the final third of the Irish innings, he claimed four wickets for 14 including a dropped catch at long-on, and it was his key dismissal of Ireland's captain, Will Porterfield, that ended all hopes of an upset. Kevin O'Brien and Alex Cusack were stumped in the space of three balls, to set up the victory that ensures their progress to the semis.

Respect of the day
Pakistan's cricketers know from bitter experience just how good Boyd Rankin can be. At Sabina Park on St Patrick's Day 2007, his height, pace and accuracy returned figures of 3 for 32 from nine overs, and sent them crashing out of the first round of the World Cup. Today, Pakistan refused to risk a repeat performance. After beating Kamran Akmal with his first ball of the match, Rankin was treated with the utmost respect in his four overs. He conceded 11 runs in all, two of which came from a leading edge that looped over mid-off. He didn't take a wicket, but Pakistan didn't dare give him the chance. It was a superb spell with which to sign off.

Onslaught of the day
Unfortunately for Ireland, Rankin could not bowl from both ends, and so his new-ball partner, Trent Johnston, bore the brunt of Pakistan's aggressive intent in the Powerplay overs. His second over was the most expensive of the match, as Shahzaib Hasan and Kamran Akmal launched 20 runs into the ether - with a six apiece, over long-on and square leg, a further clip over midwicket from Akmal, and just for good measure, a no-ball.

Riposte of the day
On Saturday at Lord's, Umar Gul was sensational. His world-record figures of 5 for 6 in three overs devastated New Zealand and invited mutterings of disquiet about his methods into the bargain. It's fair to say his follow-up in this match was hotly anticipated. Younis Khan made his man wait, holding him back until the 12th over of the run-chase, but after finding his range in his first two overs, he did not disappoint. Three times in seven deliveries he rattled the stumps with his yorker - although the second occasion did not count because the delivery had come off a free hit.

First impression of the day
To those in the know, 18-year-old Paul Stirling is the next big thing in Irish cricket, and today - after three low-key ODIs in Aberdeen and Belfast - was his first big outing on the international stage. All it took was one delivery to confirm his rich promise, as he leaned into a sweet cover-drive off Mohammad Aamer and picked his gap exquisitely. In a single delivery, Stirling equalled his highest score in international cricket - his previous efforts had been 4, 4 and 4 not out. He added another boundary with a thumping pull off Abdul Razzaq before succumbing to Shahid Afridi for a promising but unfulfilling 17 from 16 balls.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
Tournament Results
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Lord's - Jun 21, 2009
Pakistan won by 8 wickets (with 8 balls remaining)
Sri Lanka v West Indies at The Oval - Jun 19, 2009
Sri Lanka won by 57 runs
Pakistan v South Africa at Nottingham - Jun 18, 2009
Pakistan won by 7 runs
India v South Africa at Nottingham - Jun 16, 2009
South Africa won by 12 runs
New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Nottingham - Jun 16, 2009
Sri Lanka won by 48 runs
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days