DUBLIN: Pakistan on Thursday thrashed Ireland by 255 runs to register their biggest win margin and went 0-1 up in a series of two One-Day Internationals.
Chasing a daunting 338-run target, Irishmen crumbled at a score of 82 under 24 overs in a rain-delayed contest that was reduced to 47 overs per side.
Left-arm orthodox Imad Wasim stood out with a staggering five for 14 in 5.4-overs.
Returning from a hiatus of 16 months to the one-day format due to a knee injury, Umar Gul picked up three for 23 at an economy of 4.60.
However, it was the left-arm fast-bowler Mohammad Amir who made early inroads with an in-dipper that curtailed Paul Stirling’s stay at the crease to only two deliveries.
Earlier, Sharjeel Khan’s quickfire 150 and handful fifties by Shoaib Malik and debutant Mohammad Nawaz down the order put Irish bowlers on the backfoot.
Pakistan got off to a flying start with left-handed opener Sharjeel hitting a four and a six in the first over.
The 27-year-old, who scored at a blasting strike rate of over 176, kept Pakistan afloat despite early dismissal of his captain and opening partner Azhar Ali.
Sharjeel caused havoc with his bat and put up a 90-run partnership with veteran batsman Mohammad Hafeez that followed a 96-run stand with Baber Azam for the third wicket.
The Hyderabad-born opener hit more than 65 per cent of the runs in the latter partnership and became the fourth fastest Pakistan batsman to hit ODI century when he reached the triple figures in 61 balls.
This was, however, just the beginning of the carnage.
The left-handed batsman’s striking rate further soared as he dealt in boundaries to reach 152 in the next 25 balls.
The southpaw became only third Pakistan batsman to register a score of 150-plus as he pulled Barry McCarthy for his 16th boundary.
In total Sharjeel hit 16 fours and nine sixes before McCarthy, the hosts’ most successful bowler with four wickets, dismissed him.
Nawaz and Shoaib Malik put up a scorching 105-run partnership in 83 balls, as both scored fifties towards the later part of the innings.
Malik, remaining unbeaten in his 37-ball 57, smacked six fours and two sixes at innings’ second best strike rate of 154.
Nawaz, who took 49 balls to register his maiden ODI fifty, charged down the wicket and hit a boundary at mid-wicket region to get to 53.
The 22-year-old, who became the 11th Pakistani to score a fifty in his first ODI, fell on the next ball. He had hit seven fours during his stay at the crease.