Sharjeel Khan powers Pakistan to huge win over Ireland
Sharjeel Khan blasted a brilliant 152 to set up Pakistan's 255-run rout of Ireland in the first of two one-day internationals between the sides in Dublin.
Sharjeel racked up his maiden ODI century in just 61 balls, registering Pakistan's fourth-fastest ton in the format.
The 27-year-old opener then accelerated his scoring still further, his 152 coming off 86 balls with 16 fours and nine sixes, before finally being dismissed by Barry McCarthy (four for 62) after skying a catch to wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien .
Shoaib Malik's unbeaten 57 and 53 from Mohammad Nawaz ensured Sharjeel's fireworks did not go to waste as Pakistan finished with a formidable 337 for six from their 47 overs, the match shortened slightly after early poor weather.
In reply, Ireland could only manage 82 all out from 23.4 overs, with Imad Wasim claiming five wickets for 14 runs.
Pakistan can now seal the two-match series when the teams meet again in Dublin on Saturday before the tourists take on England in five ODIs, the first of which begins in Southampton next Wednesday.
Ireland registered a famous victory over Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup but there was to be no such repeat in Malahide on Thursday.
Pakistan did suffer an early wobble when captain Azhar Ali was dislodged by McCarthy for just one, but then Sharjeel let loose and completely turned the tie in the process.
Mohammad Hafeez contributed 37 in a second-wicket stand worth 90 before being removed by Peter Chase, with William Porterfield taking the catch.
While Sharjeel continued to make hay, Babar Azam added 29 in as many balls before becoming one of three batsmen to fall to the McCarthy-O'Brien combination .
By the time Sharjeel holed out to leave Pakistan on 226 for four in the 32nd over, the damage was ultimately already done.
Sarfraz Ahmed managed just two runs before Tim Murtagh drew him into a nudge behind, and then Nawaz became McCarthy's fourth victim, but not before striking 53 off 50 balls.
Already faced with a massive target, Ireland's reply could hardly have got off to a worse start when Mohammad Amir clean-bowled Paul Stirling with the innings' second ball.
Captain Porterfield could only muster 13 before the fit-again Umar Gul upended his stumps, and the wickets continued to fall at regular intervals.
Gul (three for 23) sent back Ed Joyce for nine before then snaring Kevin O'Brien, reducing Ireland to 32 for four.
Slow left-armer Imad then took centre-stage, first claiming the scalp of Niall O'Brien for 10, stumped by Sarfraz, and then dismissing Stuart Poynter lbw for four.
Gary Wilson's short burst came to an end on 21, Nawaz drawing another stumping from Sarfraz.
Imad then finishing things in emphatic fashion with three wickets in four balls, bowling each of McCarthy, Murtagh and Chase to leave Andy McBrine unbeaten on 14.
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