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Dominant Pakistan thump Ireland to seal T20I series win

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DUBLIN: Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan’s swashbuckling half-centuries after Shaheen Shah Afridi’s splendid bowling figures of 3/14 powered Pakistan to a resounding victory over Ireland in a three-match series’ decider on Tuesday.

Set to chase 179, Pakistan comfortably knocked the winning runs for the loss of four wickets and 18 balls to spare, courtesy of a match-winning second-wicket partnership between Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.

The touring side, however, had a contrasting start to their pursuit as young opener Saim Ayub failed to make a mark and perished in the third over after scoring 14 off 11 deliveries.

Following the early blow, Babar joined wicketkeeper batter Rizwan in the middle and turned the tide in Pakistan’s favour.

Babar and Rizwan dominated the Ireland bowling attack as both scored half-centuries and put together a marathon 139-run partnership for the second wicket.

Their match-winning stand came to an end in the 15th over when Mohammad Rizwan was bowled by Mark Adair.

Rizwan remained a notable contributor to Pakistan’s total with a brisk 56 off 38 deliveries, peppered with four fours and three sixes.

Meanwhile, Babar Azam, the core aggressor of the stand, fell in the next over after top-scoring for his side with a belligerent 75. His 42-ball knock featured six fours and five sixes.

Pakistan then lost another wicket as Iftikhar Ahmed perished in the next over cheaply.

Later, Azam Khan (18*) and Imad Wasim (1*) ensured that there were no further hiccups in the run chase and took Pakistan over the line with three overs left.

Mark Adair was the pick of the bowlers for Ireland with his three wickets while Craig Young chipped in with a wicket.

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The hosts had a shaky start to their innings after being sent into bat first as they lost their opener Ross Adair (7) in the third over with just 15 runs on the board.

Following the early stutter, skipper Lorcan Tucker joined in-form Andy Balbirnie in the middle and launched an astounding recovery.

The duo knitted a brisk 85-run partnership that lasted with Balbirnie’s dismissal off Abbas Afridi in the 11th over.

The right-handed opener scored a brisk 35 off 26 deliveries, hitting two fours and three sixes.

Tucker then put on a brief 32-run partnership with Harry Tector before Imad Wasim provided a much-needed breakthrough to Pakistan in the 14th over by dismissing the Ireland captain.

Lorcan Tucker remained the top-scorer for Ireland with a 41-ball 73, laced up with 13 boundaries and a six.

His dismissal sparked a collapse and Ireland lost four more wickets in quick succession and consequently slipped to 164/7 in 18.3 overs.

But Tector stood his ground firm and carried his bat all the way through with an unbeaten 30 off 20 deliveries with the help of two fours and a six while Graham Hume played an important 10-run cameo.

Shaheen Shah Afridi led the bowling attack for Pakistan with three wickets, followed by Abbas Afridi, who bagged two.

Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, on the other hand, made one scalp apiece.

READ: Mental performance coach to work with Pakistan team for T20 World Cup

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