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28-May-2011 18:27:00 GMT
Ireland v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Belfast

Junaid Khan Stars as Pakistan Seal Easy Win

Belfast: Their first game since returning from the ICC Cricket World Cup was in danger of petering out in an embarrassing defeat to Pakistan in the first of the two-game series in the first one-day international on Saturday

The weather was a typically steely grey Belfast day, with plenty of showers to keep the 2,000 spectators moving and prevent play from commencing until 2pm. A 38 over game was the plan then -- and a 36 over one after a short break -- but Ireland conspired to reduce it further when they were bowled out in exactly 20 overs.

Earlier, Pakistan's Junaid Khan ensured Ireland came back down to earth after their World Cup exploits as the hosts were bowled out for just 96.

Left-arm paceman Junaid, in only his fifth match at this level, made light of the cold and blustery conditions at Stormont to take four wickets for 12 runs in five overs before off-spinner Saeed Ajmal polished off the tail with three for seven in three.

Ireland, who at the World Cup defeated old rivals England in Bangalore, were dismissed in a mere 20 overs.

Rain, which had reduced what should have been 50 overs per side contest to 38 before a ball had been bowled, returned to cut the match to 36.

At the interruption, Ireland were in trouble at 76 for six and it would have been even worse but for a whirlwind 39 from 22 balls by Paul Stirling.

The Middlesex opener hit seven fours and a six, including 19 off Tanvir Ahmed which took him out of the attack.

But when he was out, skying Junaid into the covers in the sixth over, his teammates folded with virtually no resistance.

Ireland captain William Porterfield gave up his opening slot to Ed Joyce but it suited neither of the county cricketers as both were caught behind for an aggregate of five runs.

Apart from Stirling, only Gary Wilson (11) and Kevin O'Brien (15), the hero against England with the fastest-ever World Cup century, reached double figures.

Such was Pakistan's dominance, even Younis Khan was given a rare bowl by his new one-day captain, Misbah-ul-Haq.

He got among the wickets when he had John Mooney caught in the gully but at that stage Pakistan were well on their way to taking a decisive lead in this two-match series.

The Duckworth-Lewis method for rain-affected matches helped their cause even more, setting Pakistan a revised victory target of 95 in 36 overs.

Brief scores
96 (Stirling 39, Junaid 4-12, Ajmal 3-6)
Pakistan 97 for 3 (Hafeez 52)
Result Pakistan won by seven wickets
MOM Junaid Khan (Pakistan)

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