HomeCricketIreland draw first blood to leave Pakistan dazed in T20I series opener

Ireland draw first blood to leave Pakistan dazed in T20I series opener

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Image Source : CRICKET IRELAND/X Paul Stirling and Babar Azam.

Ireland drew first blood in the three-match T20I series against Pakistan on Friday (May 10) as they won the first game at Castle Avenue by five wickets.

Electing to field first, Ireland got the big wicket of Mohammad Rizwan courtesy of a brilliant run by Harry Tector to stun the visitors early.

However, Babar Azam stitched an 85-run stand with Saim Ayub to lift Pakistan out of trouble. Ayub gave a glimpse of his talent as the southpaw scored a quickfire 29-ball 45 witht he help of four fours and three maximums.

His strike rate (155.17) helped Babar to get his eye in and put the pressure back on Ireland.

Babar was a bit conservative in his approach and scored 57 off 43 balls at a strike rate of 132.55. His knock comprised eight fours and a six.

A batting order collapse prevented Pakistan from breaching the 200-run mark as Fakhar Zaman (20 off 18 balls), Azam Khan (0 off 2 balls) and Shadab Khan (golden duck) got out without creating much impact.

However, a late fightback by Iftikhar Ahmed (37* off 15 balls) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (14* off eight balls) propelled the tourists to 182 in their 20 overs.

Craig Young was the pick of all the Irish bowlers. He finished with figures of 2/27 in four overs.

In reply, Ireland couldn’t get off to a promising start either. The hosts lost their captain Paul Stirling (8 off 5 balls) and Lorcan Tucker (4 off 7 balls) inside the powerplay and were staring down the barrel at one stage.

However, a 77-run stand for the third wicket between the Player of the Match (POTM) Andy Balbirnie and Harry Tector resurrected Ireland’s innings and put it back on track. Balbirnie batted at a strike rate of 140.00 during his 77-run knock and didn’t let the asking rate creep beyond Ireland’s grasp.

George Dockrell (24 off 12 balls), Gareth Delany (10* off 6 balls) and Curtis Campher (15* off 7 deliveries) helped Ireland scale the target with a ball to spare.

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