Misbah silent as Pakistan's cricket does the talking

Misbah silent as Pakistan's cricket does the talking

But this was one occasion when his team's actions spoke louder than words.
Pakistan's emphatic seven-wicket victory at Stormont here yesterday 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.
And in under two days since arriving in temperatures 20 degrees lower than they left behind in the Caribbean, Pakistan adjusted to a cold and blustery day to skittle Ireland out for just 96.

Junaid Khan, the 21-year-old left-arm pace man, playing only his fifth ODI, changed the course of the game with three wickets in four overs on his way to four for 12 in five
He ended Paul Stirling's whirlwind 39 from 22 balls and later removed Ireland's other big-hitter, Kevin O'Brien, scorer of the fastest ever World Cup century during the recent win against England.

Meanwhile the wicket of Andrew White left him on a hat-trick. Junaid didn't manage that there was no way back for Ireland from 66 for six and the introduction of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal hurried the innings to its conclusion, his three wickets coming in just 10 deliveries.

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.

Ireland eventually took a wicket, but not until the 23rd over and by then Pakistan were just 22 runs from victory, their target reduced to 95 in 36 overs by the Duckworth/Lewis method for rain-affected one-dayers.

Mohammad Hafeez brought up his 12th ODI 50 from 83 balls with seven fours and a six but was dismissed next ball, the second of three wickets for Australia-born Alex Cusack, Ireland's only successful bowler.
Those wickets allowed Misbah, in his first match as Pakistan's one-day captain and celebrating his 37th birthday, to hit the winning runs.
The second and final match of this series sees the teams return to Stormont on Monday.