PAK vs IRE | Pakistan survive Irish scare to bid World Cup adieu with consolation win in Florida

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Pakistan ended their 2024 T20 World Cup campaign with a three-wicket victory in a low-scoring dead rubber against Ireland. Shaheen Afridi and Imad Wasim scalped three each to restrict the Irish to 106/9 before Babar Azam played anchor to guide Pakistan home from a precarious position of 62/6.

Brief score: PAK 111/7 (18.5) [Babar 32*(34), Rizwan 17(16); McCarthy 3/15(4)] defeat IRE 106/9 (20) [Delany 31(19), Little 22*(18); Imad 3/8(4)] by three wickets

Ireland chose to bat first after winning the toss which paved the way for a brutal demolition at the hands of Pakistan's new ball unit. Shaheen Afridi produced a sensational inswinger on the third ball of the innings to sound Andy Balbirnie the death rattle and a scrambled-seam jaffa two deliveries later dispatching Lorcan Tucker. Skipper Paul Stirling decided to change the momentum by taking the game on and charged down the track in Mohammed Amir's opening salvo, only to nick one straight to Mohammad Rizwan. Afridi scalped a third with another lethal inswinger and Amir bagged a simple return catch to whittle the Irish down to 32/5 by the end of the powerplay. Haris Rauf made it six in the very next over and although Gareth Delany and Mark Adair sparked a comeback with a boundary-laden 34-run stand, it was shortlived courtesy of Imad Wasim. The left-arm spinner opened his World Cup tally with three quick scalps in a sensational spell and it took a valiant 22-run cameo from Josh Little to drag the Irish to 106/9 in their 20 overs.

In response, the Pakistan openers faced a slew of dot balls early on and just when Saim Ayub seemed to found his range, he top-edged one into the gloves of Lorcan Tucker. Mohammad Rizwan soon followed suit on the penultimate ball of the powerplay, courtesy of a brilliant leaping catch in the deep by Adair, with the score reading 39/2. Nevertheless, Pakistan seemed to be on top of the game, needing less than five an over with 12 overs to go when all hell broke loose. Curtis Campher scalped a wicket each on either side of a game-changing double-wicket maiden by Barry McCarthy to suddenly leave the Men in Green reeling at 62/6. Skipper Babar Azam thereafter used all his experience to keep the scoreboard ticking while the young Abbas Afridi played a crucial 17-run cameo in a 33-run stand. Eventually, Shaheen took it upon himself to put the game to bed with two massive strikes in the penultimate over, securing a three-wicket triumph.


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