NewsShaheen, Rizwan, and Babar gear up for England series and T20 World Cup

Shaheen, Rizwan, and Babar gear up for England series and T20 World Cup

Dublin, 14 May 2024: Shaheen Shah Afridi sounded a warning to the world ahead of next month’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 with another stellar bowling performance that helped Pakistan beat Ireland by six wickets in the third and final T20I here on Tuesday.

Shaheen returned figures of 4-0-14-3 as he, Mohammad Amir (4-0-32-1) and Imad Wasim (3-0-22-1) combined to restrict Ireland to 178 for seven in 20 overs after the home side had looked set for a strong finish, reaching 95 for one at the halfway stage and then 137 for four after 15 overs.

In turn, Pakistan raced to the victory target in 17 overs, losing Saim Ayub (14, 11b, 3x4s), Mohammad Rizwan (56, 38b, 4x4s, 3x6s), Babar Azam (75, 42b, 6x4s, 5x6s), and Iftikhar Ahmed (5, 4b).

After Saim departed in the third over at Pakistan’s score of 16, Rizwan and Babar produced yet another century partnership, putting on 139 runs for the second wicket in 74 balls. When the match ended, Azam Khan (18) and Imad Wasim (1) were at the crease.

The convincing victory wrapped up Pakistan’s week-long tour of Ireland that had started with a shocking five-wicket defeat in the first T20I on Friday. Pakistan had bounced back strongly in the second T20I on Sunday, chasing down a 194-run target for the loss of three wickets with 19 balls remaining.

Shaheen’s analysis included two runs in his third over, the 15th of Ireland’s innings, and three runs in his fourth over, the penultimate over of Ireland’s innings. He ended the series with seven wickets in three matches, a near-perfect tune-up for the upcoming series against England and then next month’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

It was Shaheen, Amir, and Imad’s crafty and intelligent bowling that pegged Ireland to a modest score after stand-in captain Lorcan Tucker, Andy Balbirnie, and Harry Tector had laid the foundation for a big total. While the second-wicket partnership between Balbirnie and Tucker produced 85 runs from 49 balls, Tucker and Tector stitched a 32-run partnership for the third wicket from 17 balls.

Tucker scored 73 runs off 41 balls with 13 fours and a six, Balbirnie’s 26-ball 35 included two fours and three sixes and Tector remained not out on a 20-ball 30 with two fours and a six.

After Tucker fell to Imad Wasim, making Ireland 132 for three in 13.4 overs, the home side’s innings fell apart as the Pakistan pace trio, also including Mohammad Abbas Afridi (two for 43), took control of the proceedings. Hasan Ali, who replaced Naseem Shah in the lineup, conceded 42 runs from his three wicketless overs.

The Pakistan men’s cricket team will now depart for Leeds on Wednesday to take on England in the first T20I at Headingley on 22 May. The remaining three matches will be played on 25, 28, and 30 May, before the side leaves for Dallas, USA, on 31 May to participate in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

Scores in brief:

Pakistan beat Ireland by six wickets, win series 2-1

Ireland 178-7, 20 overs (Lorcan Tucker 73, Andy Balbirnie 35, Harry Tector 30 not out; Shaheen Shah Afridi 3-14, Mohammad Abbas Afridi 2-43)

Pakistan 181-4, 17 overs (Babar Azam 75, Mohammad Rizwan 56; Mark Adair 3-28)

Player of the match – Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)

1st T20I – Ireland won by five wickets

2nd T20I – Pakistan won by seven wickets

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