Ireland denied famous victory
Ireland fell agonisingly short of a first series win against a full-member nation following a two-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the second RSA Insurance one-day international in Dublin.
Ireland had seemed on course for an historic success until eighth-wicket pair Kamran Akmal (81) and Wahab Riaz (47 not out) smashed 93 in 62 balls to break home hearts. Ed Joyce's first Ireland century had helped the hosts to 229 for nine before Pakistan folded to 17 for four in reply.
When Kamran crunched Alex Cusack to the boundary to bring up his half-century Pakistan still required 81 from nine overs. But when Wahab took 24 from Tim Murtagh's final over Pakistan needed just eight from 18 balls. Junaid Khan hit the winning runs with eight balls to spare.
Trent Johnston kick-started Pakistan's collapse when he had Imran Farhat well snapped up by Kevin O'Brien low at second slip before Murtagh struck twice in the next over. He trapped Nasir Jamshed in front without scoring before Mohammad Hafeez, a centurion on Thursday, feathered through to wicketkeeper Gary Wilson.
Kevin O'Brien made no mistake when Asad Shafiq nicked Johnston's next ball into a now-expectant cordon. Pakistan were reeling a 17 for four but skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoab Malik began to look more assured in a 43-run stand before the former offered back a catch to Cusack to depart for 24.
George Dockrell then got the crucial wicket of Malik, after he had reached 43, to an lbw decision. Kamran was left with the tail but with Wahab he found a willing ally as they turned the match away from the home side in a stunning late burst.
Earlier, Joyce was thrust into action almost immediately as Paul Stirling, who hit his second consecutive century against Pakistan on Thursday, failed to trouble the scorers after spooning to mid-wicket off Junaid. Skipper William Porterfield then chased at debutant Asad Ali soon after and Ireland were four for two.
Joyce and Niall O'Brien nevertheless steadied matters in a watchful 65-run stand from 120 balls. O'Brien's patience broke when he flashed a catch through to wicketkeeper Kamran off Wahab before Wilson's attempted sweep off Abdur Rehman ballooned up for Hafeez to take at slip.
Joyce and Kevin O'Brien finally got the innings rolling when they took 53 from the powerplay, taken at the start of the 34th over. Nine boundaries came in the five-over restrictions but when the field dropped back O'Brien picked out Jamshed in the deep after hitting 38 from 48 balls.
Ireland then lost momentum but Joyce remained assured and brought up his century by swatting Rehman, who took four for 48 in his first international match since he was banned for testing positive to cannabis, over the ropes.