Despite Ireland claiming ascendancy with the ball in hand and in the early stages of their batting innings, they suffered a 13-run defeat to Pakistan in the third Tri-Series T20I.
Ireland kept Pakistan to 92-5 in their 14 overs, pegging the tourists back either side of a lengthy rain delay and withstanding a pair of brisk cameos from Muneeba Ali and Nida Dar.
After inclement weather pushed back the start of play to 5pm, Ireland wasted no time in making inroads, Ava Canning striking with her first legal delivery. The right-arm seamer found significant inswing to knock over Iram Javed for a duck.
The rest of the powerplay was a tail of two batters, with Muneeba scoring freely and Bismah Maroof, the Pakistan captain, struggling to get going.
The former slashed Canning for four in the first over before sweeping the same bowler to the fence in the fifth, with a pair of pulled boundaries off Arlene Kelly following soon after. Maroof, meanwhile, might have been grateful for the rain which came at the conclusion of the sixth over with her on nine off 20.
The delay reduced the game to 14 overs a side, and Ireland were able to restrict Pakistan well initially after the reduction, three overs following the break passing by boundary-less, and containing the wicket of Muneeba, swinging across the line and having her off stump pegged back by Laura Delany.
The captain struck again soon after, bringing her opposite number's stay to an end for 13 off 25. That dismissal, skidding through to take out middle stump, brought out Dar, who supplied the day’s most explosive cameo.
She signalled her intent instantly, sweeping Delany for four first ball, and coming down the track to loft Cara Murray down the ground in the next over.
With Ayeesha Naseem muscling Delany for six, and Dar doing the same to Jane Maguire on the first ball of the final over, Pakistan would have hoped for a strong finish. But Maguire hit back, dismissing both batters and conceding only four further runs to give Ireland the momentum heading into the innings break.
They retained the advantage through the early stages of their innings, with openers Rebecca Stokell and Gaby Lewis combining to take 25 runs of the first two overs, bringing the required rate down to a run a ball in the process.
Stokell cut Diana Baig down to third, with a misfield allowing the ball through to the rope, before a crisp leg-side stroke brought a second boundary.
Lewis fell inches short of beginning her innings in perfect fashion, a high and handsome pull shot bouncing just inside the field of play, and a sweep second ball brought another boundary. With Stokell also taking the aerial route, pumping Anam Amin back over her head, and Lewis cutting Dar for four, Ireland were well on top.
Pakistan mounted a comeback however, restricting Ireland to just two further boundaries, both hit by Lewis off consecutive Kainat Imtiaz deliveries, and while Ireland’s strong start meant that they kept in touch with the required run rate, by the end they left themselves too much to do.
Stokell was the first to fall victim to the pressure, bowled by Tuba Hassan in the eighth over, and while Orla Prendergast stuck with Lewis and rotated the strike, the big hits weren’t forthcoming.
When the No.3 did attempt to hit out, she could only manage to skew Dar into the air, Javed completing the catch, and from there, Ireland were scrambling.
The last two overs saw four wickets fall, three to run outs and one - Mary Waldron - lbw to Fatima Sana. A close game had ended with Pakistan victorious by 13 runs, with the Tri-Series continuing on Thursday, Ireland taking on Australia at the same venue.
Ireland v Pakistan, 3rd Tri-Series T20I, Bready, 19 July 2022
Pakistan 95-7 (14 overs; M Ali 29, N Dar 26; J Maguire 2-14)
Ireland 83-6 (14 overs; G Lewis 47, R Stokell 19; T Hassan 1-10)