Ireland and Pakistan will take on each other in a clash that would go a long way in deciding who qualifies for the knockouts from Group A. Under the normal circumstances, Pakistan would have fancied their chances of getting the better of Ireland, especially after the manner in which they overcame the tough South African challenge. But, there is a bit of history between these two sides. Back in the 2007 World Cup, Ireland, in their first World Cup, shocked Pakistan at Sabina Park to dump them out of the 2007 World Cup.
There will be a small matter of revenge that Pakistan would be seeking on Sunday. But, things won’t be any easier since Ireland are a lot more experienced and professional than they were eight years ago. As the teams prepare for battle at Adelaide, we look back at the historic clash at Sabina Park, Jamaica.
The game: Ireland vs Pakistan, March 17, 2007 at Sabina Park
Toss: Ireland won the toss and decided to field first
Teams: (Pakistan) Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq*, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Azhar Mahmood, Mohammad Sami, Iftikhar Anjum and Umar Gul
(Ireland) Jeremy Bray, William Porterfield, Eoin Morgan, Niall O'Brien, Andre Botha, Kevin O'Brien, Andrew White, Kyle McCallan, Trent Johnston, Dave Langford-Smith and WB Rankin
Ireland got off to a fantastic start as Langford-Smith sent back opener Mohammad Hafeez caught by Niall O’Brien for 4. Before Pakistan could recover, Rankin had picked up the big wicket of Younis Khan for a duck, to leave Pakistan reeling at 15 for 2. Imran Nazir and Mohammad Yousuf took the score past 50, but when on 15, Trent Johnston delivered another killer blow to put Pakistan back in trouble at 56 for 3. To make matters worse, skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq was dismissed for 1 by Andre Botha. Pakistan needed Nazir to carry on, but he fell for 24, as Pakistan lost half their side for 66.
With the top and middle order gone, Pakistan were now banking on their all-rounders. But, this just wasn’t to be their day. Kevin O’Brien had Shoaib Malik caught by his brother Niall for 9 from 25 balls. Azhar Mahmood occupied the crease for 21 balls, but managed only 2 when Rankin got the better of him. Kamran Akmal finished as the team’s leading run-scorer with 27 from 47 as Pakistan were bundled out for 132. Rankin stood out for Ireland with three scalps while Botha and McCallan picked up two each.
Pakistan were always going to come hard with the ball. For Ireland to chase down the target, they needed at least batsman to put their hand up. Niall O’Brien took the responsibility upon himself even as wickets kept falling from the other end. Niall made a doughty 72 from 107 balls with the help of six fours and a six, to take Ireland past 100. His brother Kevin remained unbeaten on a patient 16 while skipper Johnston came in to finish off Pakistan with a mighty blow.
--By A Cricket Analyst