BELFAST - Security officials hurried Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq away from reporters and back to the squad’s hotel after his side beat Ireland in the first of two one-day internationals. But this was one occasion when his team’s actions spoke louder than words. Pakistan’s emphatic seven-wicket victory at Stormont here on Saturday could have been a tricky assignment in alien conditions.
However, Misbah — leading the side after Shahid Afridi was stripped of the captaincy for criticising coach Waqar Younis — won an important toss and Pakistan continued their recent impressive form. The World Cup semi-finalists left the sub-continent for the West Indies where they wrapped up the five-match one-day series there with victories in the first three matches. Those wickets allowed Misbah, in his first match as Pakistan’s one-day captain and celebrating his 37th birthday, to hit the winning runs.
And Ireland captain William Porterfield, while admitting Pakistan bowled well, was more concerned by his side’s lack of resilience. “It was difficult for the batsmen with the ball seaming around but we didn’t acquit ourselves as well as we should have and there were too many poor shots and not enough application at the crease. “We folded too easily and didn’t put any partnerships together.
“But even on that pitch, if you can scrape together 160-170 in a reduced game you can contain teams, take a few wickets and put pressure on them but we never did that,” Porterfield added.