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Irish hoping for another Stirling job

By Richard Bullick

Explosive opener Paul Stirling is to continue in his new role of mid-innings game-changer when Ireland take on Pakistan at Malahide today (10.45am) in the first of two one-day internationals.

Throughout his career, the former Carrickfergus star has been deployed at the top of the order. However, for the recent series against Afghanistan, the Middlesex man was moved down with Ed Joyce coming out alongside skipper William Porterfield.

That proved successful with Joyce compiling an aggregate of 399 runs including a record-breaking unbeaten 160 in the final fixture. Stirling hurried Ireland to victory with 39 not out in the second game and although he wasn't a significant factor in the other matches, the 25-year-old can give fresh impetus.

Coach John Bracewell will welcome back fit-again Niall O'Brien, who top-scored with 72 as Ireland famously upset Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup. With bowler Boyd Rankin's season ended by a leg break, Porterfield and the O'Brien brothers, Niall and Kevin, are the only remaining members from that line-up.

Pakistan's only survivors from their win in Clontarf 18 months ago are Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.

The teams meet again at the same venue on Saturday with tickets still available for both days.

Belfast Telegraph


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