Ireland fail to build on Stirling work
PAUL STIRLING restored Ireland's pride with a century in Belfast yesterday but it wasn't quite enough to stop Pakistan squeezing to a five-wicket victory and a clean sweep of the two-match RSA Series.
Stirling top-scored when Ireland were skittled for 96 in the first game on Saturday and was in even better form yesterday, striking four sixes and seven fours in front of his local crowd at Stormont. The Belfast native (20) completed his second one-day international century from only 94 balls but when he was bowled for 109 the home innings stuttered.
Alex Cusack again found the No 4 slot hard work before he was stumped for 26, big-hitting Kevin O'Brien managed only seven and it needed a quick-fire 33 from Gary Wilson to lift Ireland to 238-8 from their 50 overs.
Trent Johnston struck in his first over to remove Mohammad Hafeez, but Azhar Ali and then Younis Khan kept Pakistan in touch with the asking rate. Boyd Rankin's hard work was rewarded with the wicket of Azhar -- but Younis' 64 and a rapid 60 not out from Umar Akmal saw the visitors home.