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Ton up Sarfraz steers Pak to World Cup quarters


Pakistan batsman Sarfraz Ahmed celebrates after completing his century against Ireland in the Cricket World Cup Pool B match at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
 ADELAIDE, March 15 (PTI): Sarfraz Ahmed struck his maiden ODI hundred as Pakistan advanced to the cricket World Cup quarterfinals, knocking Ireland out with a seven-wicket triumph over the European giant-slayers in their final pool B match here today.

Set a target of 238 by the Irish, Pakistan never looked in trouble and romped home with 3.5 overs to spare, putting up a rare clinical show in what has otherwise been a topsy-turvy campaign for them in the marquee event.

Sarfraz became the first Pakistan batsman after Imran Nazir (2007) to notch up a World Cup hundred as he slammed 101-run knock to cement his place after being kept out in the initial matches of the tournament.

Pakistan will now face Australia in the last-eight stage on March 20 here after finishing third in their group with four wins out of six matches.

It was a thoroughly polished performance by a more-often-than-not mercurial team with Sarfraz proving his worth yet again. The 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman shone bright with 124-ball knock, which was studded with six fours.

Opener Ahmed Shehzad was another notable contributor to the team’s cause with a 71-ball 63, which included seven hits to the fence.

Man-of-the-match Sarfraz and Shehzad put together 120 runs for the opening wicket, laying the solid foundation for a smooth chase. For the bitterly disappointed Irish, who impressed one and all with lion-hearted performances all through, Alex Cusack was the most successful bowler with figures of 1/43 from his 10 overs.

SCORECARD

Ireland: William Porterfield c Afridi b Sohail Khan 107, Paul Stirling lbw b Ehsan Adil 3, Ed Joyce c Akmal b Wahab Riaz 11, Niall O’Brien c Akmal b Rahat Ali 12, Andy Balbirnie c Afridi b Haris Sohail 18, Gary Wilson c Wahab Riaz b Sohail Khan 29, Kevin O’Brien c Maqsood b Wahab Riaz 8, Stuart Thompson c Akmal b Rahat Ali 12, John Mooney c Akmal b Wahab Riaz 13, George Dockrell run out 11, Alex Cusack not out 1. Extras: (lb-2, w-10) 12. Total: (All out; 50 overs) 237. Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-56, 3-86, 4-134, 5-182, 6-189, 7-204, 8-216, 9-230. Bowling: Sohail Khan 10-0-44-2, Ehsan Adil 7-0-31-1, Rahat Ali 10-0-48-2, Wahab Riaz 10-0-54-3, Shahid Afridi 10-0-38-0, Haris Sohail 3-0-20-1.

Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad c Joyce b Thompson 63, Sarfraz Ahmed not out 101, Haris Sohail run out (Balbirnie/Dockrell) 3, Misbah-ul-Haq hit wicket b Cusack 39, Umar Akmal not out 20. Extras: (b 1, lb 1, w 13) 15. Total: (3 wickets; 46.1 overs) 241. Fall of wickets: 1-120, 2-126, 3-208. Bowling: Alex Cusack 10-1-43-1, John Mooney 9-1-40-0, Stuart Thompson 10-0-59-1, George Dockrell 6-0-43-0, Kevin O’Brien 10-0-49-0, Paul Stirling 1.1-0-5-0.

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