Pakistan clinch consolation win against Ireland in T20 World Cup 2024 finale

Lauderhill, Florida   -   On a high note, Pakistan concluded their T20 World Cup 2024 campaign, defeating Ireland by three wickets in a thrilling encounter at Central Broward Regional Park on Sunday. A collective bowling effort and an unbeaten innings from Babar Azam guided Pakistan to chase down Ireland's target of 107 with seven balls to spare. 

Pakistan faced an early setback in their chase as Saim Ayub and Mohammad Rizwan departed after a modest start, leaving Pakistan at 23/2 in the fifth over. Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, skipper Babar Azam anchored the innings with a crucial 32 off 34 balls. Abbas Afridi provided valuable support with a resilient 17, steering Pakistan closer to victory alongside Babar. 

Earlier, Ireland struggled against Pakistan's pace attack, slumping to 32/6 in the powerplay overs. Gareth Delany staged a spirited recovery with a rapid 31 off 19 balls, but regular strikes from Pakistan's bowlers restricted Ireland to 106/9 in their 20 overs. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Imad Wasim claimed three wickets each, supported by Mohammad Amir's two crucial breakthroughs. Despite both teams missing out on the Super 8s, Pakistan's victory was a fitting conclusion to their T20 World Cup journey, showcasing their resilience and determination on the field. 

In a post-match talk, player of the match Shaheen Shah Afridi said: "Wicket was good for bowling, we just tried to strike early. Everyone was looking to bowl fuller, tried to hit our areas. That finish is good. We haven't played the kind of cricket our country demands, have a few areas to improve on. Crowd always come in and support us, they've done some throughout the World Cup. It's tough [result] but thanks to the fans." 

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said: "We finished well, we took early wickets with the ball. With the bat we didn't finish well. Lost back-to-back wickets, got over the line in the end. I think with the bowling, conditions suit our bowlers, in batting few mistakes in USA, India matches, when you lose wickets, pressure is on you. Let's see what the team needs, I'll be okay with it. Have a good bunch of players, we've to go home, chat and see where we lacked, and then come back. Couldn't finish off close games, as a team we weren't good as a team." 

Ireland captain Paul Stirling said: "Think so, played well I patches, start of the day didn't go terribly well, they put pressure on us early on. Proud of the fight we've shown, 30 for 5 to get that score, wasn't too far away. It's getting that balance right. T20 we probably haven't got that this time around. It's been a difficult couple of weeks, go back regroup and see if we can come back stronger." 

PAKISTAN 111/7 (Babar Azam 32*, Barry McCarthy 3-15) beat IRELAND 106/9 (Gareth Delany 31, Shaheen Shah Afridi 3-22, Imad Wasim 3-8) by three wickets.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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