Ton-up Stirling gives Ireland hope against Pakistan

Belfast: Paul Stirling`s third one-day international hundred was the centerpiece of Ireland`s 238 for eight against Pakistan in the second and final match of their series at Stormont here on Monday.

Ireland, skittled out for 96 during Pakistan`s seven-wicket win in Saturday`s series opener, were on course for a substantial total while the 20-year-old Stirling was at the crease.

The batsman, who plays for English county Middlesex made 109 off just 107 balls with four sixes and seven fours but when he got out when the score board read 182 at the start of the 44th over, Ireland failed to kick-on.

The hosts lost momentum during the one rain interruption in the innings, after 37 overs, with Ireland on 159 for two.

Ireland took their batting power play two overs after the resumption but Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan bowled five excellent overs which brought two wickets and yielded only 23 runs.

Junaid, Saturday`s man-of-the-match with four wickets, finished with two for 53 but the majority of those runs came in his first spell when Stirling was on the rampage.

The 21-year-old left-arm paceman got his revenge in the power play when he bowled Stirling and he followed up with wicket of Gary Wilson, in the last over, for a bright and breezy 33 from just 25 balls, with five fours.

Off-spinner Ajmal was Pakistan`s most successful bowler with four for 35.

He made the initial breakthrough in the 15th over, when he had Ed Joyce caught behind for 17.

Ajmal also had Alex Cusack stumped for 26, the dangerous Kevin O`Brien caught on the long-off boundary for just seven and John Mooney caught behind.


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