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Ireland's cricket captain Trent Johnston celebrating after hitting the winning run of the Group "D" Cricket World Cup match against Pakistan at Sabina Park, in Kingston, Jamaica, yesterday. Ireland produced one of the biggest upsets in Cricket World Cup history, beating Pakistan by three wickets, consigning the 1992 champions to an almost certain first-round exit. (AP Picture)

reland's cricket captain Trent Johnston hitting a six off Pakistan's Umar Gul to win a historic match against the Pakistanis and send them crashing out of the tournament. (AP) Compliments of the Barbados Nation News

THE UNTHINKABLE has happened in Cricket World Cup 2007.

Ireland's cricket captain Trent Johnston hitting a six off Pakistan's Umar Gul to win a historic match against the Pakistanis and send them crashing out of the tournament. (AP)

Ireland's cricket captain Trent Johnston celebrating after hitting the winning run of the Group "D" Cricket World Cup match against Pakistan at Sabina Park, in Kingston, Jamaica, yesterday. Ireland produced one of the biggest upsets in Cricket World Cup history, beating Pakistan by three wickets, consigning the 1992 champions to an almost certain first-round exit. (AP Picture)

The Pakistanis have been sent packing from the sport's biggest tournament in the opening round.

Lightweight Ireland, in only their second match in the World Cup, delivered one of the biggest shocks in the game when they knocked off Pakistan by three wickets in a rain-interrupted Group "D" match at Sabina Park, Jamaica, yesterday.

On a day of drama – unheralded Bangladesh inflicted a five-wicket upset victory over India at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad – the so-called minnows silenced their doubters with captivating performances.

That Ireland, branded as minnows and no-hopers, should achieve it in front of a sizeable and partisan crowd was one thing; to accomplish the feat on St Patrick's Day – an Irish national holiday – was quite another.


O'Brien on the attack

Chasing 133 on a difficult pitch, with overhead conditions and a green pitch assisting Pakistan's bowlers, wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien led Ireland's response with a superb 72.

Ireland captain Trent Johnson smashed a six to secure the memorable win, lifting his side to 133 for seven chasing a rain-revised target of 128 with 5.2 overs to spare.

It was the second thrilling finish in three days for the Irish, after the Zimbabwe match was tied with a wicket on the last ball in their World Cup debut.

Pakistan lost the tournament's opening match to the West Indies by 54 runs and two losses make it virtually impossible to make the Super 8s round, another blow after the doping controversy involving Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif and the injury to key allrounder Abdul Razzaq.

Inzamam Ul-Haq and his inconsistent men trudged off in the Jamaican gloom, despondent and shell-shocked. Losing to West Indies was regrettable enough, but to Ireland, a group of amateurs light years away from Test status, will be hard to accept for their fanatical supporters.

Inzy's 377 One-Day Internationals are more than the combined list for the entire Irish team.

If the bowling was under par, it was the performance of their batsmen which really cost Pakistan the match. Reckless against West Indies in their opening match, they struggled against the moving ball. (MK)

 

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