On this day in 2007, the cricketing world witnessed one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game when Ireland stunned Pakistan by three wickets in Kingston. While the result was definitely unexpected, Ireland were expected to do well against Pakistan. The expectations from the Irish team soared after they eked out a tie against Zimbabwe in their opening fixture. Pakistan, on the other hand, were not at their best in the build-up to this tournament. The 54-run defeat to the West Indies in the first match of the World Cup did not help matters.
The incredible upset
Ireland skipper Trent Johnston won the toss and sent Pakistan in to bat first and his decision was spot on as he and his teammates bowled out their fancied opponents for a paltry total of 132. Ireland were off to a brilliant start with the ball as Dave Langford-Smith sent back Mohammad Hafeez in the very first over. 8 runs later, Boyd Rankin dismissed Younis Khan for a duck to reduce Pakistan to 15 for 2.
Imran Nazir and Mohammad Yousuf then tried to arrest the slide, adding 41 runs for the third wicket before the latter was caught at point off Johnston for 15. Yousuf’s dismissal opened the floodgates as Pakistan found themselves reeling at 72 for 6 after losing 4 wickets for just 16 runs. The tail wagged, albeit not for long, as Ireland folded up Pakistan’s innings in the 46th over.
A monumental win was on the cards for Ireland but Pakistan were not out of the game entirely either. With bowlers like Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami in their ranks, Pakistan’s bowling had the ability to power their team to an unlikely win. Sami started brilliantly with the ball, dismissing Jeremy Bray (3) and Morgan (2) cheaply to reduce Ireland to 15 for 2. But before Pakistan could make further inroads in the game, William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien arrested the slide for their side.
Rain helps Ireland
The duo took the score past the 50-run mark before Mohammad Hafeez broke the 47-run stand by dismissing Porterfield. After the breakthrough, Inzamam introduced the frontline bowlers in the attack and the move paid off as Sami dismissed Andre Botha for a duck to reduce Ireland to 70 for 3. Niall, however, stayed firm at the other end, scoring 50 of Ireland’s 75 runs. He found an able partner in his brother Kevin O’Brien as the two steadied the ship.
The game was interrupted by rain in the 28th over, with Ireland needing just 52 runs from almost 23 overs. If there was no possibility of further play, Ireland would have made the cut owing to the Duckworth-Lewis method. But the rain stopped and Ireland were given a revised target of 128 in 47 overs. After the resumption, the O’Brien brothers took the score to 108 before Malik dismissed Niall for 72 to give Pakistan slim hopes of defending the modest total.
Pakistan’s hopes were further raised when Iftikhar Anjum got the better of Andrew White and Kyle McCallan on consecutive deliveries to reduce Ireland to 113 for 7. However, Kevin and captain Johnston took their team over the line in the 42nd over to register a huge upset.