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Kevin O’Brien scored 84 of just 47 deliveries including 14 runs in the last over against Saeed Ajmal © AFP (File Photo)

Dublin: May 24, 2013

A ton from opener Paul Stirling alongwith Kevin O’Brien‘s onslaught helped Ireland secure a last-ball tie in the first One-Day International against Pakistan by Duckworth-Lewis method at Dublin on Thursday.

Chasing a revised target of 276 in reply to Pakistan’s 266, Ireland openers William Porterfield and Stirling gave a good start with a partnership of 62 runs. While Stirling affirmed his authority, Ed Joyce gave a steady support with an innings 32 runs after Porterfield’s dismissal building a crucial partnership of 96 runs. Stirling completed his fifth ODI ton in the 34th over.
 
When Kevin O’Brien walked in to bat in the 33rd over, the required run-rate was already close to nine runs an over. The aggressive innings of O’Brien would have never shaped up if Shoaib Malik hadn’t dropped the catch on the boundary line off Mohammad Irfan when he was batting on 19.
 
While he was running out of partners from the other end, O’Brien single-handedly kept attacking the Pakistani bowlers. With 15 runs required of the last over, it seemed that Ireland had a good chance of causing yet another upset against Pakistan.
 
The first three deliveries of Saeed Ajmal fetched just three runs. With 13 needed from the last three deliveries, O’brien lofted the off-spinner over the long-on fence for a six. The next ball yielded just two runs. With five runs needed of the last ball, the batsman flicked the ball towards the backward square leg region and secured a thrilling tie.

Earlier, Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq chose to bat after winning the toss. The visitors got off to a sedate start with opener Imran Farhat and Nasir Jamshed taking their time to set in. In the fifth over Jamshed was hit on the toe by a Trent Johnston delivery.

However, a rain interruption during the sixth over kept the teams away from action. After play resumed, Jamshed looked uncomfortable and retired hurt scoring just 15 runs before returning later in the match to complete his innings.
 
Farhat was the first wicket to fall caught by Paul Stirling in the slips off Alex Cusack. The two new batsmen — Mohammad Hafeez and Asad Shafiq — then steadied the ship and started scoring briskly. Their partnership of 188 runs ensured that Pakistan headed for a stiff total.
 
Shafiq was dismissed in the 43rd over for 84 runs. Hafeez complete his fifth ODI century an over later.
 
Two quick wickets in couple of overs from there posed little difficulty for the visitors. Jamshed who returned to complete his innings was dismissed by Kevin O’Brien. Skipper Misbah was run-out a ball later without even facing a delivery. However, Hafeez kept his wicket intact to take his team to the eventual total.

According to Duckworth-Lewis method Ireland had to chase 276 in 47 overs.
 
O’Brien was named Man of the Match for his aggressive innings. The final match will be played on Sunday.

Brief Scores:
 
Pakistan 266 for 5 in 47 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 122*, Asad Shafiq 84; Kevin O’Brien 2 for 43, Alex Cusack 2 for 50) drew with Ireland 275 for 5 in 47 overs (Paul Stirling 103, Kevin O’Brien 84*; Mohammad Hafeez 2 for 34, Junaid Khan 2 for 54) by D/L method

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