Two matches were played yesterday, March 15th, in the ICC World Cup. West Indies took on United Arab Emirates for their final pool match. The second match was between Pakistan and Ireland.
Pakistan went into this game being on the third spot in the pool with 6 points. Winning three consecutive matches, their confidence was sky high. Pakistan wanted to make it four wins in a row against Ireland. Ireland, on the other hand, also needed a win to qualify for the last eight of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
The match was played at the Adelaide Oval in Australia. Supporters for both the teams were present in the stadium. People were wearing their respective team jerseys to support the players.
Pakistan had made some changes in the squad. Ehsan Adil and Haris Sohail were the changes. Misbah-ul-Haq marshalled his team on to the Adelaide Oval. Sarfraz Ahmed kept his place behind the stumps after a beautiful display of his cricketing skills in his last outing against South Africa. The left arm pacers Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz also kept their place in the starting XI. Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood and Shahid Afridi also made the cut.
Ireland wanted the victory as much as Pakistan did. As expected, they put out a strong and capable side. Captain William Porterfield who is in good touch made the cut. The O’Brien brothers, Kevin and Niall made it in the starting XI. The trio of John Mooney, Stuart Thompson and Alex Cuzcak led the pace bowling attack for the Irish. Gary Wilson called the shots from the back of the stumps. Ed Joyce, Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie and George Dockrell completed the starting XI for Ireland.
Ireland won the toss. The Irish skipper, William Porterfield opted to bat first. The skipper himself and Paul Stirling opened the batting proceedings for the Irish. Stirling was the first man to depart for Ireland as Ehsan Adil provided the breakthrough. Ireland lost their first wicket with 11 runs on the scoreboard. Ed Joyce came to the pitch. The left hand duo started to construct a good partnership, but Ed Joyce was caught by Umar Akmal at 55 runs. Wahab Riaz took the wicket. Niall O’Brien departed for 13 runs. His catch was taken by Umar Akmal as Rahat Ali took the wicket. William Porterfield played some outstanding strokes. The Irish faithful was counting on him to post a good total. Along with Andrew Balbirnie, they were starting to set the pace. Haris Sohail broke the partnership between the duo. Balbirnie was caught by Shahid Afridi on Sohail’s delivery. Score was 134-4. Next to depart at 182 was the skipper. After scoring an outstanding century, he got out on Sohail Khan’s delivery. In his 107 runs, he hit 11 fours and a single six. Wilson then went back to the pavilion after scoring 29 runs. The wicket of Thompson went to Rahat Ali. He scored 12 runs. The dangerous Kevin O’Brien departed for only 8 runs. 216-8 was the score. Mooney and Dockrell only added 21 runs to the scorecard. Ireland finished their innings with 237 runs on the board. Wahab Riaz took 3 wickets for 54 runs in his 10 overs. Rahat Ali and Sohail Khan also bagged two wickets. 1 dismissal each went to Haris Sohail and Ehsan Adil respectively.
Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed opened the innings for Pakistan. Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfraz both took time to settle. Shehzad played some outstanding strokes when he got set. He scored an outstanding 63 runs, but was caught by Ed Joyce. Attempting a pull, his shot went sky high and it was easily caught by the Irish fielder. Haris Sohail departed rather shortly after Ahmed Shehzad’s dismissal. Misunderstanding between the players led to his run out. Sarfraz on the other hand, played a superb knock yet again. Proving his critics wrong, the boy from Karachi scored his maiden century at the Adelaide Oval. His century included six boundaries. Misbah-ul-haq also chipped in with a good innings of 39 runs with 3 boundaries and two sixes. Pakistan completed the target in 46.3 overs.
Man of the Match went deservingly to Pakistani wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed. Bagging his second consecutive Man of the Match award in the ICC World Cup.
Sarfraz Ahmed is also the first Pakistani player to score a century in this edition of the World Cup. He now also has the highest score for Pakistan as a wicket in the World Cup with 101 runs. He beats Moin Khan who scored 63 runs in the 1999 World Cup versus South Africa in Nottingham, England.
A good performance yet again by the men in green. They face Australia in the quarter finals on the 20th of March. Pakistan people are hopeful for their success. They want to see their teams put in their level best and fight valiantly for a win against the men in yellow.