Ireland captain William Porterfield admitted his side had been left heartbroken after narrowly missing out on an historic series success over Pakistan in the RSA Insurance one-day international series.
Ireland looked almost certain to secure a first series win over a full-member nation when Pakistan crashed to 17 for four chasing 230 in the second and final match in Dublin. But Irish hopes were snatched away by a devastating eighth-wicket stand of 93, from 62 balls, between Kamran Akmal and Wahab Riaz to claim a two-wicket win.
It meant the Irish were left thinking what might have been for the second time in four days following Thursday's dramatic tie to open the series. "We're obviously disappointed after Thursday's result but we managed to pick ourselves up. This is really disappointing," Porterfield said. "It is kind of heartbreaking in terms of being in the position we were in."
He added: "That's the biggest thing that we'll look back on. After those first 12 or 14 overs and having them four down and behind the rate. Even coming into the last 12 to 14 overs if we had picked up a wicket at that time we were right on top.
"They were two pretty good efforts that we'll look back on and say we played pretty well. It's deflating at the minute but it shows where we are at."
Pakistan had needed 81 from the final nine overs when Kamran, who spent two seasons in Irish club cricket a decade ago, reached his half-century from 71 balls. But from there he and Wahab, who finished unbeaten on 47 from 35 balls, unleashed a blistering counter attack.
Wahab struck the killer blows in Tim Murtagh's final over as the Middlesex man - who had been instrumental in the early collapse - saw the ropes cleared three times as 24 came from it. That left Pakistan needing only eight from the final three overs and while Kamran fell for 81, from 84 balls, the damage had been done.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq admitted his side had made a lucky escape and claimed Ireland, ranked 11th in the ICC standings, were now capable of beating any nation in the world.
"They are really an improved side and played very well," he said. "The way they are improving they can compete with any Test-playing nation.
"We were really struggling. We knew that we had depth in our batting because Abdur Rehman and Wahab are capable of scoring runs at the lower order. But it was still it was a difficult job and we needed the way Kamran and Wahab played which was tremendous."