star in series-clinching win

In the game that ends the series, Shaheen, Babar, and Rizwan shine.

In the T20I series finale against Ireland, Pakistan displayed a strong all-around effort and won handily by six wickets on Tuesday, May 14. With a 3 for 14 effort, Shaheen Afridi bowled brilliantly, restricting the hosts to 178 when they were expected to reach much higher totals. With three overs remaining, the seasoned and dangerous duo of Mohammad Rizwan (56 off 38) and Babar Azam (75 off 42) put up a 139-run partnership for the second wicket to reduce the score.

Babar took the batting position for Ireland in this match, as they were without their regular skipper Paul Stirling. Only one run was scored per fifteen balls in the innings till Shaheen removed Ross Adair with a full inswinger. However, interim captain Lorcan Tucker gave the innings much-needed impetus by starting it off strong with a six and two fours from Hasan Ali’s opening over.

Ireland had 50/1 after six overs, but they had started the post-PowerPlay phase brilliantly when Andrew Balbirnie and Tucker hit Hasan for six and four, respectively. After hitting three boundaries off a Saim Ayub over, Tucker sped away to a 29-ball half-century. After an 85-run partnership, Rizwan dismissed Balbirnie for 35 after he made a brilliant catch sprinting in from third man.

But Tucker persisted in his daring ways, hitting Hasan Ali for three consecutive boundaries in the thirteenth over. The hosts were positioned to aim a score close to 200 at 132/2 at the beginning of the 14th over, but their boat was turned over when the skipper hit Imad Wasim straight to long-off, dismissing him for an outstanding 41-ball 73. After then, Ireland’s innings collapsed, with just 31 runs coming off the last four overs. Along the way, Shaheen removed Neil Rock and Mark Adair to limit Ireland to 178.

After Saim Ayub was bowled out by Mark Adair in the third over, Pakistan’s chase was never in danger. It brought together the reliable duo of Rizwan and Babar, who did not lose any time in establishing dominance over the visitors. Taking the ball early, Rizwan struck Graham Hume for six fours in the fourth over. Craig Young then bowled a series of six six fours in the next over.

After 60 runs from the PowerPlay, Babar started to get going in the opening over. The captain of Pakistan began his bat by hitting two boundaries off Young. Pakistan was leading the chase at 92/1 by the halfway point. Pakistan accelerated the second phase of their chase with an 18-run 11th over in which Babar hit Curtis Campher for a six and two fours, helped by some carelessness in the field on the part of the hosts. Babar punished Benjamin White even more by hitting him for four sixes, including three consecutive ones that allowed him to get past Rizwan. Mark Adair eventually terminated the century stand, and in the next over, Young dismissed Babar.

Prior to the conclusion, Pakistan also lost Iftikhar Ahmed, but Azam Khan brought the pursuit to an end by smashing the final ball of the 17th over for six runs.

Brief scores: Pakistan (Babar Azam 75, Mohammad Rizwan 56, Mark Adair 3-28) defeated Ireland 178/7 in 20 overs (Lorcan Tucker 73, Shaheen Afridi 3-14) by six wickets.