Pakistan has defeated Ireland by three wickets in their first Super Six match of the ongoing U19 World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
The Boys in Green bowled out the Irish batting lineup for 180 runs after electing to bowl first. Meanwhile, the chase turned exciting as Ireland's bowlers were on the spot but failed to bowl out Pakistan completely. Saad Baig & Co achieved the target in 43.4 overs
Earlier, disciplined efforts from Pakistan bowlers resulted in Ireland leading at a run rate of one in the first five overs. This pressure resulted in a breakthrough as Ubaid Shah had Jordan Neal caught out off his bowling. Neil attempted a pull shot, but the ball arrived sooner than expected, resulting in the top edge going straight to Ubaid.
During the first half of the second powerplay, Ireland's innings lost consistency, with five wickets falling for just under 50 runs. All the batsmen were out in an attempt to wrest control from Pakistan.
Ali Raza, Ahmed Hasan and Amir Hasan took one wicket each, while Ubaid achieved his second success in the 24th over.
Ireland managed to establish their first significant partnership of the game when John McNally and Harry Dyer combined for the seventh wicket. By the time Dyer became the victim of Haroon Arshad in the 37th over, the pair had scored 65 runs, surpassing the combined efforts of the first six wickets. Despite this, Ireland were still far from a competitive total and needed a late lead.
Despite John McNally's 53, Ireland struggled to gather momentum during the final powerplay and were all out by the 49th over. Ubaid once again emerged as Pakistan's standout performer with figures of 3/31.
In reply, Pakistan's openers made a generally positive start and scored at a rate of around five runs per over before Ruben Wilson succeeded. The fast bowler took the important wicket of Shahzeb Khan,
The batsman, Pakistan's top run-scorer in the tournament, attempted to cut the ball but slipped. Ollie Riley dismissed the second opener in the next over, with Shamil Hussain making a mistake in attempting a pull shot and sending the ball straight to the wicketkeeper.
After this, Azan Awais (21) and Saad Baig (25) took the responsibility of finishing the innings. The pair pursued the chase cautiously, avoiding unnecessary risks and managed to hit only five fours during their time at the crease. Awais's alertness was broken when he missed a ball from the dryer and was adjudged leg before wicket.
Dryer struck again, taking the wicket of Saad Baig and reducing Pakistan's four wickets to 78 runs. Ubaid Shah was sent up the batting order with Ahmed Hasan, but the experiment proved unsuccessful as Ubaid was out on eight runs. Ahmed Hasan and Haroon Arshad (25) made a strong partnership for the sixth wicket and added 63 runs in 75 balls and took Pakistan to the threshold of victory.
Ahmed Hasan finally took Pakistan to the finish line in the chase in the 44th over. He remained unbeaten after scoring 57 runs on 72 balls.
The Boys in Green will play Bangladesh in their second and final Super Six match on February 3.