Plays of the day June 15, 2009

Stumped for an answer

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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