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Ireland put Pakistan out of World Cup
Richard Sydenham | March 18, 2007 00:07 IST
Last Updated: March 18, 2007 05:03 IST
Former champions Pakistan were eliminated from the World Cup when they lost a thrilling Group D match against part-timers Ireland by three wickets, at Sabina Park, on Saturday.
The result is one of the biggest shocks in the nine-tournament history of the World Cup, the first of which was played in 1975.
Ireland, requiring a rain-revised target of 128 to win to keep alive their hopes of a passage into the Super Eight stage, won with a six over mid-wicket by captain Trent Johnston off Azhar Mahmood, with 8.2 overs to spare.
Kevin O'Brien was 16 not out after his brother Niall had earlier scored a crucial 72 on St Patrick's Day, the Irish patron saint.
In another upset of the day, 1983 champions India were shocked by Bangladesh by five wickets.
Ireland were coasting to victory at 113-5 but the 35th over of the innings bowled by Rao Iftikhar saw two wickets fall and that created a tense finale.
Pakistan were earlier dismissed for just 132 in 45.4 overs as seamer Boyd Rankin claimed 3-32, including 13 wides. Pakistan's top scorer was extras with 29.
Ireland tied their first match with Zimbabwe on Thursday.
This was a game that Pakistan could not afford to lose, having lost their opener against hosts West Indies on Tuesday, also at Sabina Park.
Pakistan began losing wickets from the first over when Mohammad Hafeez (4) was caught behind from seamer David Langford-Smith to the sixth ball of the match.
The usually-reliable Younis Khan then followed with a third-ball nought, caught at slip off seamer Boyd Rankin, to make the score 15-2.
Mohammad Yousuf, another batsman that Pakistan look to when they need to steady the innings, lasted just 31 balls before he drove to point and was caught for 15 off Irish skipper Trent Johnston. That was 56-3.
The loss of skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq in the next over was the moment when the Irish party really began. He edged the South African-born medium-pacer Andre Botha to Eoin Morgan at slip for one and it was 58-4.
Opener Imran Nazir, renowned for his attacking strokeplay, was probably not the batsman Pakistan wanted in their crisis and his regular playing and missing was soon followed by an edge to slip Morgan off Botha.
Shoaib Malik, Pakistan's top scorer with 62 in the West Indies match, looked at ease for the 25 balls he lasted, including a firmly hit straight drive off Johnston.
But he became the sixth victim when the score was 72 as he edged seamer Kevin O'Brien to his wicketkeeper brother Niall O'Brien, who was standing up.
There was still hope while all-rounder Azhar Mahmood and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal were at the crease.
But they both fell within four balls to Rankin in the 31st over.
First Mahmood played an irresponsible pull shot to a ball that was not all that short and was caught by skipper Johnston at mid-on.
The score of 103-7 then became 105-8 when the same combination accounted for Akmal, who also mistimed an attacking shot and was brilliantly caught by a diving Johnston.
The recalled Mohammad Sami and Rao Iftikhar Anjum added 25 valuable runs together but it was not enough as all 10 batsmen were out caught.
Pakistan face Zimbabwe in their final Group D match on March 21.
The seven-week World Cup culminates with the April 28 final in Barbados.
The Cup: The Complete Coverage
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