ADELAIDE: Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed scored his maiden ODI century as Pakistan overpowered Ireland by seven wickets to secure their place in World Cup quarterfinals here at Adelaide Oval.
Pakistan opening woes seem to have vanished as Sarfraz and Ahmed Shahzad (63) put 120 runs for the first wicket partnership in 22.4 overs before Shahzad lost his wicket to Stuart Thompson after Ed Joyce took his catch.
Haris Sohail (3) was unfortunate to lose his wicket after getting run-out.
Sarfraz then added 82 runs with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (39), who lost his wicket after getting hit-wicket off Alex Cusack delivery.
Sarfraz (101 not out) and Umar Akmal (20 not out) then reached the victory total in 46.1 overs. Sarfraz faced 120 balls and smashed six boundaries and carried the bat. Meanwhile, Akmal scored the winning boundary to seal the victory.
Earlier, Irish captain William Porterfield scored a brilliant century as the team posted 237-10 against Pakistan.
Ireland, who won the toss and elected to bat first, lost opener Paul Stirling early in fourth over with only 11 runs on board. Stirling (3) lost his wicket after he was lbw by rookie Ehsan Adil.
Ed Joyce (11) was the next to return to pavilion after Akmal took his catch off pacer Wahab Riaz in 13th over.
Niall O’Brien (12) also failed to give much support to opener Porterfield after losing his wicket to pacer Rahat Ali as Akmal took another catch with Ireland scorecard showing 86-3 in 16.4 overs.
Pakistan’s batting all-rounder Haris Sohail, who replaced Younus Khan after recovering from injury, removed Andy Balbirnie (18) after Shahid Afridi took a brilliant catch.
After Ireland reached 182 in 38.5 overs, skipper Porterfield (107) finally gave in as pacer Sohail Khan took his wicket when Afridi took the catch. Wicket-keeper Gary Wilson (29), the second highest scorer for the Irish, soon followed Porterfield after Sohail took his second wicket while Wahab Riaz took the catch with Ireland 189-6 in 40.3 overs.
Rahat Ali took his second wicket when he removed Stuart Thompson (12) as Akmal took the catch. Wahab Riaz then sent Kevin O’Brien (8) back to the pavilion Sohaib Maqsood took the catch with Ireland score of 216-8 in 47.1 overs.
Wahab Riaz took his third wicket in the final over of Ireland inning after Akmal took the catch of John Mooney (13). Ireland lost their tenth wicket on the last ball of their inning after wicket-keeper Sarfraz collected a throw from Wahab Riaz to remove tail-ender George Dockrell (11) run-out.
Wahab was the top wicket taker for Pakistan with three but he was a bit expensive conceding 54 in his ten overs. Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali returned with bowling figures of 44-2 and 48-2 respectively. Afridi bowled ten overs conceding 38 without any success.
Haris took a wicket while conceding 20 runs in his ten overs. Ehsan Adil captured a wicket and conceded 31 runs in 7 overs.
Ending at third spot in Pool B below top placed India and second placed South Africa,Pakistan will now face host Australia, who sit at No 2 in Pool A, on March 20 here at Adelaide Oval in quarterfinals. Fourth placed Pool B team West Indies will face top placed Pool A team New Zealand in Wellington on March 21.
Meanwhile, India will face fourth placed Pool A team Bangladesh on March 19 at Melbourne Cricket Ground while South Africa will take on third placed Pool A team Sri Lanka on March 18 at Sydney Cricket Ground. NNI