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3rd T20I: Rizwan, Babar, Shaheen Afridi excel as Pakistan beat Ireland, win three--match series 2-1

Author : IANS

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Dublin (Ireland), May 15 (IANS) Skipper Babar Azam slammed his 39th half-century and Mohammad Rizwan struck fifty after pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi claimed a three-fer as Pakistan defeated Ireland by six wickets with 18 balls to spare in the third T20I and won the three-match series 2-1 here on Tuesday.

Babar struck a 42-ball 75 while Rizwan blasted a 38-ball 56 as Pakistan reached 181/4 in 17 overs after Shaheen Afridi claimed brilliant figures of 3-14 off four overs and his namesake Abbas Afridi bagged 2-43 after the visitors had won the toss and elected to field first. After Pakistan lost opener Saim Ayub for 14 off 11 balls with the total at 16 runs, Rizwan and Babar a 139-run partnership for the second wicket. Rizwan was the first to reach his half-century off 30 balls, his knock studded with four boundaries and three sixes.

Babar crossed the half-century mark off 31 balls, hitting five boundaries and two maximums. Rizwan was the next to go, bowled by Mark Adairas he moved way too far across and was bowled by a brilliant yorker in the blockhole. Babar fell next, just three runs later when he was caught by Curtis Campher off Craig Young. By that time, Pakistan were cruising towards victory and Azam Khan ensured they reached the target with an unbeaten 18.

Earlier, Ireland managed a below-par 178 thanks to a superb 41-ball 73 by skipper Lorcan Tucker, who hammered 13 boundaries and one six. Seasoned batter Andy Balbirnie contributed a 26-ball 35 and Harry Tector scored a 20-ball unbeaten 30. Ireland lost Ross Adair for seven with the team's total at 15. Balbirnie and Tucker took the score to 100 runs at the halfway stage when the former fell, caught by Rizwan off Abbas Afridi. Tucker and Tector took the score to 135. Tucker was in blazing form as he stormed to his half-century off 29 balls (8x4, 1x6) but the departure of the Ireland skipper triggered a collapse, as they lost Neil Rock (4), George Bockrell (6), Curtis Campher (1) and Mark Adair (1) cheaply and eventually managed to reach 178/7 in 20 over. This eventually proved insufficient under the assault of Rizwan and Babar Azam despite a three-fer by Mark Adair (3-28)

Brief scores:

Ireland 178/7 in 20 overs (Lorcan Tucker 73, Andy Balbirnie 35, Lorcan Tucker 73, Harry Tector 30 not out; Shaheen Shah Afridi 3-14, Abbas Afridi 2-43) lost to Pakistan 181/4 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 56, Babar Azam 75; Mark Adair 3-28) by six wickets.

--IANS

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