Thursday, May 30, 2024

Andrew Balbirnie leads Ireland first win over Pakistan in 17 years

Must read

Ireland beat Pakistan by 5 wickets in the first T20I of their three match series in Dublin.
read more

Andrew Balbirnie’s 77 run knock helped guide Ireland to their first victory over Pakistan in 17 years as they won the opening T20I by five wickets in Dublin on Friday.

Balbirnie, the opener, played a key role as Ireland successfully chased down the 183 run target with a ball to spare.

Victory gave Ireland a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. These two teams will also face off in the group stage of next month’s T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.

It was Ireland’s second win against Pakistan following their shock triumph at the 2007 50-over World Cup.

Pakistan captain and star batter Babar Azam top-scored for the visitors with 57 in a total of 182/6 that also featured Saim Ayub’s 45.

“I didn’t watch the last over. (I) went to the tent and put a towel over my head,” said Balbirnie, who shared a third-wicket stand of 77 with Harry Tector, at the presentation ceremony.

“I felt it was my job to get the team over the line… Harry said if we could bat normally till the 13th over, we could get the runs. That was a partnership which set it up.”

Azam, meanwhile, absolved his bowlers of blame for the defeat.

“I think 190 would have been a par score,” he said.

“We lost in the fielding and batting. (I) don’t think we executed the plans. Few fielding lapses cost us.

“We attacked in the first six overs but didn’t finish well.”

Ireland needed 40 to win from the last four overs, with Abbas Afridi dismissing George Dockrell for 24.

Next over, with Ireland requiring another 28 from 17 balls, Shadab Khan gave Balbirnie a reprieve by failing to hold a tough chance.

Come the penultimate over, Ireland’s target was down to 19.

But Pakistan quick Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled Balbirnie with a low full toss to end the opener’s impressive 55-ball innings, which featured 10 fours and two sixes.

With Ireland needing 11 off the last over, Curtis Campher under-edged a boundary off Abbas and eventually sealed victory with a leg bye.

The teams meet again in Dublin on Sunday and Tuesday.

Brief scores

Pakistan: 182-6, 20 overs (Babar Azam 57; C Young 2-27)

Ireland: 183-5, 19.5 overs (A Balbirnie 77; Abbas Afridi 2-36)

Result: Ireland won by five wickets

Series: Ireland lead three-match series 1-0

Latest article