Akmal’s late flourish denies Irish famous win

Ireland were denied a historic win, as former Limavady professional Kamran Akmal blasted Pakistan to a two-wicket victory in the second RSA one-day international at Clontarf yesterday.

Akmal’s late flourish denies Irish famous win

Akmal helped the Roeside club win back-to-back Senior Cups in 2002 and 2003, and used his experience of Irish conditions to hit a match-winning 81 off 85 balls.

Akmal and Wahab Riaz (47 from 35 balls) put on 93 in 62 balls for the eighth wicket to seize the initiative from the Irish, who had been favourites for much of the game after a disciplined batting and bowling performance.

Phil Simmons’ side had high hopes of a first win on Irish soil over an elite Test-playing nation after their tie in the first match on Thursday, and were well in the game at the halfway stage after posting 229-9 in their 50 overs.

Ed Joyce batted all but five balls of the Ireland innings, scoring an undefeated 116 from 132 balls and in the process became only the second player to score ODI centuries for two different countries.

Dublin-born Joyce scored a century for England against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2007 and represented his adopted country in that year’s World Cup. After losing his Three Lions place, he re-qualified for the country of his birth and has been playing for Ireland since the 2011 World Cup.

His form for Ireland has been patchy in those two years, but the Sussex captain finally came good with a well-paced ton to follow fellow Dubliner Eoin Morgan (Ireland and England) into the record books.

Ireland opening bowlers Trent Johnston and Tim Murtagh had Pakistan rocking with two wickets apiece as Misbah-ul-Haq’s side were reduced to 17-4 in the reply.

Misbah (24) and Shoaib Malik (43) steadied matters, but it needed a late display of power hitting from Akmal and Riaz to give Pakistan the win.

Ireland captain William Porterfield admits the dressing room was finding it difficult to deal with the defeat.

“We managed to pick ourselves up after Thursday’s result, but this is kind of heart-breaking,” he said.

Porterfield was full of praise for Joyce, who he feels sets a standard for the other Irish batsman to emulate.

“He anchored the innings and paced it throughout, and showed what a class act he is. He showed the rest of us what kind of innings needs to be played [in those situations],” he said.

Ireland had got off to a dreadful start, losing openers Paul Stirling (0) and Porterfield (1) in the first four overs, but recovered as Joyce led the way.

Pakistan captain Misbah was impressed with Ireland over the two games, and feels they can upset other elite teams in the future.

“They are a really improved side. They played very well, and the way they are playing, they can compete with any Test-playing nation,” he said.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up