Ireland to stage ODI series against Pakistan

BELFAST (Northern Ireland), March 26: Irish cricket has received another boost with the announcement Ireland will host World Cup semi-finalists Pakistan in a two-match One-day International series in May.

Both matches, on May 27 and May 29, will take place at Stormont, Belfast.

The latest addition to Ireland`s fixture list comes after officials previously revealed the national side would be facing Sri Lanka in a triangular series also featuring Scotland in July.

Up until the Sri Lanka announcement, Ireland`s only major post World Cup fixture was a One-day International against England in Dublin on Aug 25.

However, Ireland were the outstanding non-Test nation at the World Cup, beating England by three wickets and coming close to also defeating Bangladesh as well as competing strongly against India and the West Indies before failing to make it out of the group phase.

Prior to the win over England, one of Ireland`s greatest days as a cricket nation was when they knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup with a stunning victory on St Patrick`s Day, Ireland`s national day, in Jamaica.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons, the former West Indies batsman, welcomed the Pakistan series by saying: “This is what we have been crying out for the fixtures against the top teams in the world.

“We have shown just how much our cricket has improved, and by playing these type of games, it`ll keep growing in the right direction.”

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt said: “The fight the Irish team displayed at the World Cup lit up the event and has added a new flavour to international cricket.

“The Pakistan team`s upcoming tour is in line with the ICC [International Cricket Council] and PCB`s vision of cricket development and support to associate members.”