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Resilient Pakistan eye World Cup quarter-final

ADELAIDEMarch 14, 2015A resilient Pakistan side is determined to put the 2007 ghost aside when they take on a dangerous side Ireland in Adelaide on Sunday with a place in the World Cup quarter-final up for grabs.

Four time champions Australia is waiting for the winner of the Pakistan-Ireland match in the third quarter-final, also in Adelaide on March 20.

Twice champions the West Indies are also in the fray for a place in the round of eight, needing a win of more than 70 runs against the UAE in Wellington to come above Pakistan and Ireland when the net run-rate is calculated.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq knows it is a must win situation for his team.

"We know it’s a knock-out match before the knock-out stages so we will be up to the task," said Misbah, who has been Pakistan's stand out batsman in the competition with four scores of over 50.

Misbah was not part of the Pakistan team eight years ago when Ireland celebrated St Patrick's Day on March 17 in 2007 by knocking out Pakistan from the World Cup with a three-wicket win at Kingston's Sabina Park in Jamaica.

Further tragedy was to follow, just a day later when the then Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer fell in his room and died a few hours later, leaving Pakistan players doubly traumatised.

Since that reverse, Pakistan have not lost a single fixture against Ireland, winning three, while the fourth of the games between them ended up in a tie.

Pakistan have bounced back from their two defeats against title holders India and the West Indies and their best came in the 29-run win against a formidable South Africa in Auckland.

Misbah hopes the same intensity and will to win will be maintained.

"We need to be as passionate for the win as we were against the South Africans," said Misbah. "It will be a big match for all of us and we need to make it memorable."

Ireland started the World Cup campaign with a shocking win over the West Indies by chasing a tough 305-run target and then outlasted Zimbabwe by five runs to earn six points from their five matches.

Ireland's senior batsman Niall O'Brien admitted the match is the biggest of their country's history.

"With a position in the quarters up for grab, it will be the biggest game in Ireland’s cricket history," said Niall. "We still have it in our own hands and know that several teams would love to be in the position we find ourselves in. Pakistan will be an extremely difficult test but it’s still up to us."

The Irish batsmen have outscored the inconsistent Pakistanis so far, which should make them feel comfortable on what is expected to be a run-laden pitch, despite the rivals' potent bowling attack.

Pakistan's batsmen have crossed 250 just once in the tournament when they hammered 339 for six against the inexperienced UAE at Napier.

In contrast, Ireland have surpassed 300 twice against the West Indies and Zimbabwe, thrashed UAE for 279-8, scored 259 against India and managed 210 versus the South Africans.

But Pakistan's bowling will put the Irish batsmen through a test of fire. Paceman Rahat Ali (3-40), Wahab Riaz (3-45) and Mohammad Irfan (3-52) bulldozed a strong South African batting in Auckland and will try for a repeat against Ireland.

Pakistan will consider recalling fit-again Haris Sohail in the squad and also have the possibility of playing leg-spinner Yasir Shah to expose the weakness of the Irish batsmen against spin.