Bowlers help Pakistan avoid Irish scare in rain-marred affair

Pakistan celebrate a wicket © Getty Images

A disciplined effort in both fielding and the bowling department helped Pakistan to avoid a near scare against Ireland as they eventually bagged their first win of the ongoing Tri-Series by 13 runs (DLS) at Bready on Tuesday (July 19).

Electing to bat first after winning the toss, Pakistan suffered an early setback as they lost opener Iram Javed on the very first legal delivery of the match. Javed was undone by a hooping inswinger from Ava Canning.

Pakistan managed to reach 32 for the loss of just one wicket at the end of the powerplay, and the rain came to halt the proceedings. The drizzle persisted for quite some time and reduced the game to 14 overs per side.

The resumption of play jolted Pakistan further as Ireland skipper Laura Delany dismissed opener Muneeba Ali and her counterpart, Bismah Maroof. Delany was rewarded for bowling stump to stump. She castled both southpaws in quick succession and reduced the visitors to 48 for the loss of three wickets. With just 28 more balls remaining in the innings, Maroof’s side needed some acceleration and the same was provided by the duo of Ayesha Naseem and Nida Dar.

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The pair put together a quick-fire 40-run stand in just 24 deliveries to help Pakistan with the much-needed final flourish. Dar was the more dominant of the two players as the experienced allrounder scored 26 runs off just 15 balls at an exemplary strike rate of 173.33, including three fours and one maximum.

Pakistan eventually posted 92 runs on the board and Ireland were asked to chase down 97 (as per DLS method) in their 14 overs.

The hosts got off to an absolute flyer as openers Gaby Lewis and Rebecca Stokell struck a flurry of boundaries upfront. The pair picked its spot adroitly and hammered the Pakistan bowlers as and when they erred in line and lengths.

Ireland were cruising along really and the Stokell and Lewis pair looked like taking the hosts home with ease. But the young leg-spinner Tuba Hassan eased Pakistan’s nerves a bit as she outfoxed Stokell and castled her.

Stokell’s dismissal dried the runs for the hosts as Pakistan’s spinners stifled both Lewis and the new batter Orla Prendergast. The pressure of an ever-so-mounting run rate got the better of Ireland batters at the end as they failed to unleash the big hits and were only seen scampering for singles and twos.

Needing 18 to win in the last over, Ireland needed Lewis to pull off a miracle but it wasn’t meant to be as she perished on the second delivery of the over in an attempt to steal a two that wasn’t there. Ireland eventually fell short by 13 runs as per the DLS method. The much-needed win saw Pakistan to make their presence felt on the points tally.

Brief score: Pakistan 92/5 in 14 overs (Muneeba Ali 29; Jane Maguire 2/14) beat Ireland 83/6 in 14 overs (Gaby Lewis 47; Fatima Sana 1/12) by 13 runs (DLS method); POTM: Nida Dar