Pakistan 230-8 (Kamran Akmal 81) beat
Ireland 229-9 (Joyce 116no) by 2 wickets
Second One-Day International, Dublin
Report by Ryan Bailey at Clontarf
Having come agonisingly close to recording another major scalp on Thursday, Ireland were once again left to rue a missed opportunity as Pakistan finalised their preparations for the Champions Trophy with a thrilling two-wicket win in the second and final One-Day International at Clontarf.
With the visitors staring down the barrel of another defeat to the Associate nation, Kamran Akmal and Wahab Riaz smashed the Irish bowling attack to all corners of the picturesque Dublin venue as they added 93 for the eighth wicket.
Ed Joyce’s first ODI century in a green jersey seemed to have set the hosts on their way to another major scalp but after reducing their illustrious opponents to 113 for seven, Ireland's wait for a victory over an elite nation on home soil must go on.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq decided to bowl first after the visitors made three changes to the side that tied Thursday’s first clash. With the Champions Trophy on the horizon, Dave Whatmore opted to give his full squad a run out as Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan and Ehsan Ali all made way.
The decision to bowl first paid immediate dividends as debutant Asad Ali dismissed Irish skipper William Porterfield for just one shortly after Junaid Khan had Thursday’s centurion Paul Stirling caught at mid-wicket.
However, Joyce was joined by Niall O’Brien in the middle to watchfully bring the hosts past 50 before the latter perished to Abdur Rehman for 29, one of four wickets for the left-arm spinner on his return to the side.
Despite the departure of Gary Wilson for a rash attempt at a reverse sweep, Joyce found a steady partner in the other O'Brien, Kevin, to steady the ship once again as the pair smashed 53 off the Power Play to add some much-needed impetus to the innings.
But the loss of the all-rounder for a brisk 38 with 10 overs remaining sparked a lower-order collapse and halted the hosts’ momentum.
As he watched wickets tumbling at the other end and the facing the prospect of running out of partners, Joyce launched Rehman over the pavilion to bring up a quite brilliant ton and help Ireland past the 200-mark which proved to be perhaps 30 runs short in the end.
However, it seemed as if it would be enough as Trent Johnston and Tim Murtagh used the green-tinged surface to their advantage to reduce the visitors to 17/4 with the top-order back in the pavilion.
Misbah (24) and Shaoib Malik (43) temporarily halted the Irish surge before Alex Cusack and George Dockrell got in on the act to leave Pakistan reeling and on the verge of a morale-denting defeat.
However, Akmal showed his worth with an explosive innings of 81 which included 13 boundaries and was ably supported by Riaz, who provided the killer blow with three sixes off Murtagh’s last over.
© Cricket World 2013
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