Ireland’s Paul Stirling labels Pakistan’s pitches ‘flattest in the world’

DUBLIN: After leading Ireland to an impressive win in their opening T20I against Pakistan at Clontarf Cricket Club, skipper Paul Stirling described Pakistani pitches as the ‘flattest’ in the world.

The Irish team successfully chased down Pakistan’s 183 with just a ball to spare in a thrilling finish.

Paul Stirling shared his thoughts post-match, elaborating on his strategic choice to bowl first and weighing in on the pitch conditions, attributing them as the flattest globally.

“We’re thrilled with the outcome. Kicking off the summer with a win was our goal, and we nearly nailed it today. Coming from Pakistan, known for its flat pitches, we took the chance on batting second and it played out well,” expressed Stirling.

He also praised opener Andy Balbirnie for his significant contribution to the match, his innings earning him the Player of the Match award.

“Balbirnie’s innings was exceptional. He steadied us during the powerplay and later accelerated. His performance was key to our victory. Games against Pakistan here have always been memorable, and we’re ecstatic to have won,” shared Stirling.

Earlier, Pakistan put up 182/5, anchored by Babar Azam’s composed fifty and Iftikhar Ahmed’s dynamic finish.

Babar stood out as the team’s highest run-scorer with his 43-ball 57, complemented by young opener Saim Ayub’s 45 run effort. Iftikhar’s rapid 37 not out also boosted the team’s total.

Tasked with a target of 183, Ireland reached it with five wickets in hand, mainly due to a robust third-wicket stand between Harry Tector and Balbirnie.

The duo pulled the team out of an early slump with a 77-run partnership. Stirling and Lorcan Tucker made early exits with 8 and 4 runs, respectively.

Tector’s innings ended in the 13th over with a quickfire 36 off 27 balls, while Balbirnie nearly saw the chase through, falling in the penultimate over.

His top-scoring knock for Ireland was adorned with 77 runs from 55 balls, hitting 10 fours and two sixes.

The teams will meet again for the second T20I of the series at the same venue on Sunday.

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