Pakistan cruise into the T20 semi finals
A terrific bowling display from Pakistan saw them sail through to semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup.
Saeed Ajmal took 4 wickets as Pakistan stunned Ireland with a purple patch of four wickets in nine balls late in the innings to close the game off comfortably.
Ireland started well, matching Pakistan's opening stages in the previous innings of 37-1 by the end of the power-plays.
But the superior Pakistani bowling was evident from start to finish as Afridi keenly bowled out Peter Stirling for 17 with a powerful ball straight down the middle that the teenager missed to bring his good innings to an end and left Ireland on 42-2.
Ireland never seemed to step into the higher gear that that desperately needed with a target of 159 to chase, but that was not entirely their fault.
All-rounder Afridi continually confused the Irish batsmen with diverse and precisely deliveries.
Even when Afridi retired from his bowling duties, the next Pakistani to take over just continued the excellent bowling and an Saeed Ajmal delivery teased Williams Porterfield into chipping the ball straight to Khan for an easy catch and Ireland were trailing 87-3 with 12 overs gone.
It seemed only a matter of time before another wicket was taken and two more came very soon after. First John Mooney was dismissed by Umar Gul, then Trent Johnson came in after a mixed first innings, and he was sent straight back out again as Gul took him for a duck to take him to the top of the leader board for wicket-taking in the tournament.
Suddenly the gates seemed to open the wickets never seemed to stay up right for longer than a couple of balls each time as Pakistan absolutely stunned Ireland with four wickets in the space of nine balls.
First, clever play from Ajmal and wicket-keeper Akmal leads to the Akmal stumping both O'Brien and Cusack for 26 and 2 respectively. Then Gul came into the fold again and got his twelfth wicket of the tournament with a brilliant, full, fast delivery.
Ireland were absolutely shell-shocked and hesitation between their batsmen led to further embarrassment, and a run-out for Regan.
After this frenzy of excitement, Ireland were lost and saw out the remaining over to end with a score of 120-9, when only three overs previously they found themselves on 99-5.
After a fairly slow start for Pakistan in the first innings, Kamran Akmal smashed a Trent Johnston delivery over the mid-wicket boundary for a six.
Akmal's batting partner, Shahzaib Hasan, went even better hitting a fantastic 94-metre six into the second tier at The Oval as question marks started to be raised of the quality of Johnson's bowling.
Pakistan suddenly found themselves a wicket down as new bowler Alex Cusack saw his effort needlessly flicked on by Hasan for a tame dismissal. It was a disappointing end to a promising innings for Hasan.
Shahid Afridi then came into replace the departed Hasan and proved his worth with a respectable 24 off 13 balls before some wonderful bowling by Ireland saw a slightly over-confident Afridi mis-judge a McCallan delivery for a wicket.
Akmal continued his impressive run to collect his half-century and push Pakistan to 117-3 at the beginning of the sixteenth over but Pakistani's best performer came up against Ireland's worst and lost by the end of the same over.
Trent Johnston came back for a third stint and immediately started throwing strong balls at the stumps, only for one of them to sneak through Akmal’s bat to see him dismissed for 57 off 51 balls.
Akmal's dismissal then saw the return of Abdul Razzaq to the Pakistani cricket team, having not seen action for two years. Johnston continued his upturn in delivery quality to test Razzaq with his first ball being a wonderful delivery that Razzaq could only toe-end back to the Irish bowler.
McCallan then came in to replace Johnston and gifted a six to Khan's replacement Misbah Ul-Haq, who clouted the ball a tremendous 98 metres. But his happiness was short-lived as McCallan got his revenge soon after as the Irishman bowls the slowest ball of the tournament so far at 48 mph, which Ul-Haq had to wait for an eternity for, swung far too early and just toe-ended it to the Irish wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien to make the score 141-5.
Pakistan brought their innings to an end as Razzaq enjoyed his return to action with a six.