Monday, May 20, 2024

Paul Stirling labels Pakistan pitches ‘flattest in the world’ after Ireland beat Babar’s men: ‘When you come here…’

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Aiming to put in a good show in the upcoming T20 World Cup, Ireland began their ongoing home T20I series against Pakistan on a winning note. Fans in Dublin were left impressed by the home side’s showing as they sealed a five-wicket victory.

Paul Stirling led Ireland to a win vs Pakistan in the first T20I.(Ireland Cricket Twitter)

Chasing 183, Ireland reached 183/5 in 19.5 overs, with Andrew Balbirnie proving to be pivotal. Opening the batting in the chase with captain Paul Stirling, Balbirnie smacked 77 off 55 balls, packed with 10 fours and two sixes. The second innings also saw crucial knocks from Harry Tector (36) and George Dockrell (24). Meanwhile, Abbas Afridi took two wickets for Pakistan.

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Initially, a half-century by Babar Azam saw the visitors post 182/6 in 20 overs. The reinstated Pakistan captain slammed 57 off 43 deliveries, clattering eight fours and a six in the process. Craig Young was in good form for Ireland’s bowling department and took two wickets. Pakistan will also have plenty to worry about, as opening wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan could only muster a single in four balls. Meanwhile, Azam Khan and Shadab Khan departed for ducks.

Speaking after the match, Ireland skipper Stirling explained his toss decision, where he opted to field. He also mentioned that Pakistan have the ‘flattest pitches’ in the world which contributed to his decision to field. “We are absolutely delighted. We wanted to start the summer off well and it was almost a perfect day for us. When you come here, especially from Pakistan, the flattest pitches in the world, ask them to bat first and see what they can get. We were happy to chase 180. Brilliant knock from Balbirnie, he got through the powerplay and picked up the pace later. It was a fantastic knock. We have had great games here especially against Pakistan. Absolutely delighted to get over the line,” he said.

For the T20 World Cup, Ireland have been placed in the same group as Pakistan, and the win will be a huge boost to their confidence. Group A also consists of Canada, India and USA.

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