DUBLIN: The goose is honking low in Ireland these days and that could be bad news for rampaging Pakistan who are looking forward to another outing against Ireland after hammering them by 255 runs in their first One-day International (ODI) at Malahide on Thursday.
The Pakistanis appear well set to steamroll the Irish in the second last ODI of their brief tour of this beautiful country but the weather gods are expected to have the final say.
The tourists were forced to call off their training session at the picturesque cricket ground at Malahide on Friday because of rain. And according to the weather forecast, it is expected to be wet on Saturday as well.
But according to local officials, there is more than a 60 percent chance that the game will go ahead despite getting affected by inclement weather. Rain is expected in the morning but the weather should improve later on.
Pakistan are unlikely to make any changes to the side that thumped Ireland in the rain-hit opening game after posting 337 from 47 overs on the back of a career-best 152 from opener Sharjeel Khan. All-rounder Imad Wasim then spun a web around the Irish batting, finishing with figures of 5-14 as the hosts crashed to 82 all out.
A team official told ‘The News’ on Friday that Pakistan will once again go all out for a big win in a bid to attain top gear ahead of the challenging five-match series that gets underway from August 24 in Southampton.
“The boys have been playing good cricket,” said Intikhab Alam, the team manager. “They have switched effortlessly from Test to ODI format and should be ready for England after the two games here,” the former Pakistan captain added.
Pakistan, trailing at a dismal ninth place in the ICC ODI rankings, have to achieve positive results in their bid to qualify directly for World Cup 2019.
Pakistan will be hoping that senior batsman Mohammad Hafeez finds his golden form after faltering in the Test series against England. Umar Gul, too, would be in their radar after the seasoned pacer took three wickets on his return t
While Pakistan are bursting with confidence, Ireland really need to pull up their socks after getting massacred in the first match.
Pacer was the only home player who performed with 4-62 as each of his other team-mates failed to offer any resistance to Pakistan.
Ireland must be particularly concerned with the fact that most of their batsmen have been out of form for the best part of this season. Skipper William Porterfield and key batter Paul Sterling will have to put their best foot forward along with other seasoned players like opener Ed Joyce and all-rounder Kevin O’Brien.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali (captain), Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Umar Gul, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir.
Ireland: Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, William Porterfield (captain), Niall O’Brien (wk), Kevin O’Brien, Gary Wilson, Stuart Poynter, Andy McBrine, Brian McCarthy, Tim Murtagh, Peter Chase.