Ireland v Pakistan: Kevin O'Brien upbeat for second ODI after tie

Kevin O'Brien hit a four off the final ball on Thursday's game to earn Ireland a tie against Pakistan


Clontarf, Dublin
Sunday, 27 May
Start time:
10:45 BST
Updates on the BBC Sport website

Batsman Kevin O'Brien believes Ireland "can finish the job" against Pakistan on Sunday after the two teams played out an exciting tie on Thursday.

O'Brien hit a four off the final ball as Ireland finished on 275-5 at Clontarf to match Pakistan's adjusted total under the Duckworth Lewis method.

Big-hitting O'Brien had mixed feelings after the match but the Dubliner feels the tie must give the Irish confidence.

"We definitely can beat them. We are playing great cricket," said O'Brien.

"We have played great cricket all year so far and Thursday's game will give us a lot of confidence going into Sunday.

"Pakistan are obviously a great side and you have to give them the respect they deserve but if they ball bounces another way on Sunday, we come away with a victory."

O'Brien's 84 not out in Thursday's contest could help him land a contract in the newly established Caribbean Premier League, with him among 18 international players in the draft for the month-long tournament which starts on 29 July.

Cricket Ireland have confirmed they would free O'Brien to play in the tournament, even though it may clash with a proposed three-game one-day series against Bangladesh.

Talks are ongoing about the prospect of the Tigers touring for a second consecutive summer after they played a Twenty20 series in Belfast last year.

O'Brien's quick-fire knock on Thursday complemented Paul Stirling's superb 103 as the Newtownabbey youngster notched his second century in one-day games against Pakistan.

Stirling's century came as he conclusively won his duel with the world's top ranked one-day international bowler Saeed Ajmal.

All that came after captain Misbah-ul-Haq's pre-match comments about his team having "plans" for Stirling following his previous century against Pakistan two years ago.

Stirling's performance gave further credibility to Trent Johnston's insistence that the Middlesex opener will develop into the best batsmen in Irish cricket history.

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Ireland and Pakistan in dramatic tie

"He's one of the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball that I have ever seen be it to play with, against or watch on TV," said all-rounder Johnston of Stirling.

"I'd probably like to see him use his head every now and then instead of going for some of those careless shots.

"But when he reins it in and plays cricket shots there is nothing better.

"I don't know why he's not playing more cricket for Middlesex. They must have some players there because that kid is a freak."

Ajmal's figures of 0-70 on Thursday were uncharacteristically poor and he surely will be hugely motivated for Sunday's contest.

After Ireland's battling performance on Thursday, changes to the line-up may appear harsh but Phil Simmons does have the option of recalling all-rounder John Mooney who has now served his suspension imposed after his controversial tweets following the death of Baroness Thatcher.

If Mooney does return, Andrew White is the player most likely to make way.

Pakistan are using the two one-day internationals with the Irish as final preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy event in England.

Ireland squad: William Porterfield (capt, Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Niall O'Brien (Leicestershire), James Shannon (Instonians), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).

Pakistan squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Muhammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshaid, Imran Farhat, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Asad Ali, Junaid Khan, Muhammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Ehsan Adil, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Kamran Akmal (wk).

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