Thursday, May 30, 2024

Balbirnie leads Ireland to maiden T20 win over Pakistan | SuperSport

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Andrew Balbirnie © Gallo Images

Andrew Balbirnie’s 77 helped guide Ireland to their first Twenty20 victory over Pakistan as the hosts won by five wickets with just a ball to spare in Dublin on Friday.

The dramatic encounter gave Ireland a 1-0 lead in a three-match series against a Pakistan side they will also face in the group stage of next month’s T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.

The only time the teams had met previously in the format was during the 2009 World T20.

Harry Tector, who made 36 and added 77 with Balbirnie for the third wicket, laid the groundwork for Ireland’s pursuit of a target of 183 before Curtis Campher (15 not out) finished the job.

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, Campher under-edged a boundary off Abbas and eventually sealed victory with a leg bye.

Earlier, Pakistan skipper and star batsman Babar Azam top-scored for the tourists with a brisk 57 after losing the toss before falling to Craig Young.

The series continues in Dublin on Sunday.

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