Sharjeel Khan’s brilliant 152 propelled Pakistan to an emphatic 255-run win over Ireland in the first KPC Group one-day international at Malahide on Thursday.
A delayed start saw the game reduced to 47 overs a side but a magnificent knock from the 27-year-old opening batsman made the sizeable crowd forget the murky conditions.
The left-hander was in immaculate touch as he hit 16 fours and nine sixes in his 152 from just 86 balls, being particularly savage on any error in length or line from the Irish attack.
Sharjeel shared a 90-run stand with Mohammad Hafeez (37) and another of 96 with Babar Azam (29) as Pakistan racked up the runs, but even after the opener had gone one of four victims for Barry McCarthy – the onslaught continued.
Shoaib Malik (57no) and Mohammad Nawaz (53) added a further 105 for the sixth wicket in just 83 balls, allowing the batting side to close on a mammoth 337 for six.
McCarthy ( four for 62) continued his excellent start to his Ireland career while Tim Murtagh – with one for 38 from his ten – escaped the carnage.
Chasing a mammoth 338 to win it was in reality only ever going to be about respectability for John Bracewell's charges; however Imad Wasim and Umar Gul saw to it that they didn't even get that.
Once Mohammad Amir bowled Paul Stirling with a beauty of an inswinger off just the second ball of the innings, Irish supporters were probably left fearing the worst.
William Porterfield (13) and Ed Joyce (nine) managed to batten down the hatches for a few overs before Gul ( three for 23) did for both of them and added the wicket of Kevin O'Brien second ball for four shortly after, just for good measure.
From there on it was all about left-arm spinner Imad Wasim – who played with Belfast side Instonians last summer – and he ran through the lower order to finish the game in double-quick time.
What little resistance there was came from Gary Wilson (21) and Andy McBrine (14 not out) before Imad (five for 14) claimed the final three wickets in the space of just four deliveries as the hosts were skittled for 82.
The teams meet again at the same venue on Saturday (10.45am) in the second game of the series where Porterfield’s men will be desperate for the chance to repair the damage.