'Feels like a loss' - Kevin O'Brien
With the visit of Pakistan to Irish shores for another highly anticipated series the excitement level was huge. Some might have been worried about weather disruption, however, for once the rain god's kept the weather relatively under control. Despite some showers during the first innings, the weather did level out and become quite reasonable and dry from 1.30 local time. Despite the conditions overhead they wanted to bat first, so after they won the toss they did just that.
With a tremendous century by their captain, Pakistan were able to post 266/5, however D/Lewis gave their total a slight tweak, leaving Ireland chasing 276 to win from 47 overs.
In reply Ireland found their own centurion when Stirling hit his own splendid century, he was aided by Ed Joyce in a solid partnership before he fell. Leaving Kevin O'Brien to provide some needed fireworks, when he scored a fluent 84(47)*. Despite Ireland scoring 275, and more runs in their allotted 47 overs, it wasn't enough due to D/Lewis. The match ended in a tie, which many Irish fans would have snapped if given the chance before the start of play. However, having seen the Irish batting performance, and considering the position they had got themselves to, perhaps it felt quite strange not to have won the game.
Even Kevin O'Brien, one of the heroes of the day was quite distraught at the result.
"It feels like a loss as we came so close, but just couldn't get over the line," O'Brien said. "If I had left [Saeed] Ajmal's delivery, it could have been a wide, but that is hindsight. You are in the moment and you just swing a bat on it. We are not out to tie games, and that is why it feels like a loss, to be honest.
It shows how far Ireland have come that chasing 276 to win, against one of the world's best cricket sides and the match ending in a tie, and the Irish captain feeling they had lost the game. In the 2007 World Cup Ireland also tied against Zimbabwe and the side was quite ectastic about the result, in only 6 years time the side's hopes have become so big that a tie today is seen as an opportunity lost.
With fifteen to win from the last, and the world's No. 1 bowler set to bowl it, even the most optimistic Irish fans found reason to worry. Especially when the first three balls only went for two runs, however the fourth ball was a towering six which beat the man at long on. Which Kevin followed by hitting two more runs of the fifth delivery, leaving six to win from the last. Although he could only manage a flick down to deep backward square for four.
The return game of this ODI series starts on Sunday in the same venue, I'm lost for words when it comes to thinking of how the two sides can eclipse the first ODI for entertainment.
With everything to gain and nothing to lose, Ireland will go into the 2nd ODI full of confidence that they can take on the world's top players and come out on top. Gone are the days that associate would lay down and die out of fear of the big boys coming to town. Not this Ireland, they show the Irish fighting spirit more than any other Irish sporting side has done. Their team togetherness and bond makes up their financial differences they face from the full member sides.