Pakistani cricket team in Ireland in 2018
Ireland flag
Flag of Pakistan
Dates 11 – 15 May 2018
Captains William Porterfield Sarfraz Ahmed
Test series
Result Pakistan won the 1-match series 1–0
Most runs Kevin O'Brien (158) Faheem Ashraf (83)
Most wickets Tim Murtagh (6) Mohammad Abbas (9)

The Pakistan cricket team visited Ireland in May 2018 to play a Test match against the Ireland cricket team. It was the first Test for the Ireland mens' team since they were awarded Test status by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in June 2017. The Ireland women's cricket team had previously played a Women's Test match, also against Pakistan, in July 2000. Pakistan won the one-off fixture by five wickets, with Ireland's Kevin O'Brien named as the man of the match, after he scored the first century for Ireland in Test cricket.

After the match, Pakistan's captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, said that victory was very important and that the team was very confident in scoring the runs. He added that they were a very young side, but could chase the runs needed to win. Ireland's captain, William Porterfield, said that despite losing he was extremely proud of how the team played, saying "it was a hell of an effort". He praised Kevin O'Brien's performance and added it was an all-round team effort.

The ICC confirmed the fixture during their meeting in Auckland in October 2017. The match took place ahead of Pakistan's Test series against England. Cricket Ireland confirmed the date of the Test match at their board meeting in October 2017, with The Village, Malahide announced as the venue the following month. The ICC appointed three English officials for the match. Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong were the onfield umpires, with Chris Broad named as the match referee. The Umpire Decision Review System (DRS) was not used for the Test match, as Cricket Ireland decided they could not afford the cost of using the system.

Warren Deutrom, CEO of Cricket Ireland, said that he was "delighted" that Ireland's debut Test match will be played at home and thanked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in being Ireland's first Test opponent. Cricket Ireland's director of high performance, Richard Holdsworth, said that Ireland would like to play a return fixture in Pakistan, as long as the security situation in the country remains stable. Warren Deutrom later confirmed that they are considering the PCB's request to tour Pakistan at a later date.

Ahead of the match, Ireland's captain, William Porterfield, said he that he was hoping local conditions would help his side, adding that subcontinental teams take some time to adjust. Pakistan's captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, said that the team was really looking forward to playing against Ireland and was confident his young side would perform well in difficult conditions. Sarfraz later went on to say that "it is a big honour for me and my team to play this historic Test match" and that the team was ready to play. At a press conference the day before the match, Porterfield said that "a lot of people have devoted a lot of their lives to make this happen" and that "it is going to be a pretty special occasion".


Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland Flag of Pakistan Pakistan

In April 2018, following a five-day training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the PCB named a sixteen-man squad for the tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland, including five uncapped players at Test level. In the same month, Cricket Ireland named twenty-six players who took part in two warm-up fixtures ahead of the final selection for the Test match. Seventeen of Ireland's international players also took part in the opening fixture of the 2018 Inter-Provincial Championship, which started on 1 May 2018.

On 4 May 2018, Cricket Ireland announced the squad for the match, with William Porterfield captaining the team. Of the fourteen players named in Ireland's squad, Boyd Rankin had previously played in one Test for England, in the 2013–14 Ashes series. Ed Joyce had also previously played for England, featuring in seventeen One Day Internationals (ODIs) between 2006 and 2007.

Two days before the Test, Nathan Smith suffered an injury and was ruled out of Ireland's squad. He was replaced by Craig Young. Prior to travelling to Ireland, Pakistan played two first-class cricket matches in England, against Kent and Northamptonshire. On the day before the Test, Sarfraz Ahmed confirmed that the eleven that played against Northamptonshire would be the same side to play against Ireland. Therefore, Imam-ul-Haq and Faheem Ashraf both made their Test debuts.

After making his debut for Ireland, Ed Joyce joined his sister Isobel in becoming only the second brother and sister to have played in Test cricket, following Denise Emerson and Terry Alderman of Australia. Ed and Isobel Joyce are also the only brother and sister to have made their Test debuts when playing for their respective gender teams on their country's first ever Test appearances.

Test series

Only Test

11–15 May 2018
Flag of Pakistan Pakistan
310/9d (96 overs)
v Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland
130 (47.2)
Pakistan won by 5 wickets
The Village, Malahide
Umpires: Richard Illingworth (Eng) and Nigel Llong (Eng)
Player of the match: Kevin O'Brien (Ire)
Faheem Ashraf 83 (115)
Asad Shafiq 62 (121)
Shadab Khan 55 (105)
Tim Murtagh 4-45 (25)
Stuart Thompson 3-62 (22)
Kevin O'Brien 40 (68)
Gary Wilson 33* (74)
Mohammad Abbas 4-44 (11)
Shadab Khan 3-31 (13.2)
160/5 (17 overs) 339 (129.3 overs) (f/o)
Imam-ul-Haq 74* (121)
Tim Murtagh 2/55 (16 overs)
Kevin O'Brien 118 (217)
Mohammad Abbas 5/66 (28.3 overs)

No play was possible on the first day due to rain, therefore Ireland became the first side to have the opening day of their maiden Test washed out. As a result of no play on the first day, Cricket Ireland lost €75,000 in ticket refunds. Play finally got underway on the second day, with Ireland winning the toss and electing to field. Tim Murtagh became the first bowler for Ireland to bowl a ball in Test cricket. Boyd Rankin took Ireland's first wicket in Tests, dismissing Pakistan's Azhar Ali, who was caught by William Porterfield at second slip. Rankin became the first player in twenty-five years, and only the third after John Traicos and Kepler Wessels, to play Test cricket for two different national teams. Kevin O'Brien became the first sportsperson from Ireland to appear in 300 matches for his country. Reflecting on the day, Ireland's wicket-keeper, Gary Wilson, said that Pakistan "got away from us a little at the end" but added that it was a very proud moment for everyone to be presented with their first Test cap.

Pakistan declared their first innings before lunch on day three, after scoring 310 runs for the loss of nine wickets. Faheem Ashraf top-scored for Pakistan, with 83 runs, including the fastest Test fifty on debut by a batsman for Pakistan, from 52 balls. Ed Joyce faced the first delivery and scored the first run for Ireland in Test cricket. He also became the first batsman to be dismissed for Ireland, when he was out lbw, bowled by Mohammad Abbas. Ireland were eventually all out for 130 runs, with Kevin O'Brien top-scoring with 40, and Mohammad Abbas finishing with four wickets for 44 runs. For the first time in sixteen years, when New Zealand played in Lahore in 2002, Pakistan enforced the follow-on. Ireland finished day three on 64 without losing a wicket, trailing by 116 runs, with Ed Joyce on 39 not out. After the close of play, Joyce said that "it was a tough wicket, but it has flattened out a little bit", adding that "the first session tomorrow is going to be really important".

In the first session of day four, Andrew Balbirnie was dismissed for a pair, therefore becoming the forty-fourth batsman, and first for Ireland, to get a pair on debut in Test cricket. In the second session, Mohammad Amir took his 100th Test wicket, becoming the second left-arm fast bowler for Pakistan to reach the milestone. At the tea interval, Ireland had a lead of 32 runs, with Kevin O'Brien scoring the first fifty in Tests for Ireland. In the final session of day four, O'Brien went on to score his maiden century, and the first for Ireland. He became the 105th batsman to do so on debut in Tests, and the fourth to score a century in their country's maiden Test. Ireland finished the day seven wickets down, with a lead of 139 runs, and O'Brien unbeaten on 118. Afterwards, O'Brien said that it was a "very proud and emotional" moment to score a Test century, and ranked it second on his own personal list, behind the century he scored in the 2011 Cricket World Cup against England in Bangalore. Pakistan's opening batsman, Azhar Ali, said that "the partnership between Thompson and Kevin took the game away from us" and gave credit to the Ireland players and how they batted.

At the start of the fifth and final day, O'Brien did not add to his overnight score, being dismissed for the first ball he faced. Ireland lost their remaining two wickets shortly afterwards, being bowled out for 339, setting Pakistan a target of 160 runs to win. Pakistan won the match by five wickets, in the penultimate session of the match, with an unbeaten fifty by debutante Imam-ul-Haq and a fifty from Babar Azam. Ireland's Kevin O'Brien won the man of the match award for his batting performance.

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