Ireland’s cricketers celebrated St Patrick’s day in style with a superb performance in the field to dismiss Pakistan for 132 and raise hopes of a major World Cup shock.
Boyd Rankin took three for 32 for Ireland but Andre Botha starred with the ball - conceding only five runs from eight overs and claiming two wickets.
Mohammad Hafeez was the first man down when he was dismissed by a fine delivery from Dave Langford-Smith.
Smith had the opener in two minds with a testing delivery outside off stump and when he decided to play Hafeez could only edge behind to Niall O’Brien.
Younis Khan came to the crease but survived just three balls before Rankin sent him back to the pavilion.
Botha was the catcher this time and when he held on to a smart chance Pakistan were two down with only 15 runs on the board.
Imran Nazir, Hafeez’s opening partner, was looking better at the other end and Mohammad Yousuf played with typical watchfulness as they shored things up and took Pakistan past 50.
But Ireland were not ready to relent and captain Trent Johnston stepped up to claim the crucial wicket of Yousuf for 15.
The 32-year-old is one of the finest batsmen of his generation – with 12 one-day hundreds to his name and an average in excess of 40 – but none of that class was in evidence when he wafted lazily to backward point in the 13th over.
He succeeded only in fending the ball to William Porterfield and just two runs were added before Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was also out, scoring one before offering a chance to Eoin Morgan at slip.
Nazir was fortunate to make it to 24 and despite three boundaries he looked uncomfortable, missing the ball entirely on two occasions attempting big swipes.
Botha eventually accounted for him with Morgan keeping up Ireland’s solid efforts in the field with a second catch.
Shoaib Malik (nine) was brought to the crease but he fared little better than his colleagues and became Kevin O’Brien’s first victim when the bowler’s brother Niall took another good chance behind the stumps.
Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal joined with number eight Azhar Mahmood as Bob Woolmer’s side finally started to show some resistance and Akmal picked the gaps well to lend the innings some stability.
But Mahmood (two) perished next when he pulled a ball from the returning Rankin that was too full for the shot.
The ball went high into the air and when it came down Johnston was underneath it to pouch the catch.
Akmal (27) fell in a similar fashion, going after a slightly shorter ball from Rankin but again picking out the Irish captain who responded with a wonderful diving catch.
Scoring slowed to a crawl as tailenders Rao Iftikhar and Mohammad Sami came together but Ireland stuck to their task and Kyle McCallan eventually tempted the latter to hole out for 12, with Umar Gul following soon after from the bowling of the excellent Botha.