Pakistan produced a thoroughly professional performance to pick Ireland apart and cruise to a seven-wicket victory in their ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup Super Six encounter in Potchefstroom.

Runs and wickets were shared across the team, as Pakistan kept their hopes of a semi-final alive for another day. Ireland had won the toss and elected to bat first. Annabel Squires was the glue that kept their innings together, as she crafted a determined, unbeaten 55 from 52 balls, with five boundaries.

The rest of the innings however, was undermined by several of their batters contriving to get themselves out with poor shot selection. Joanna Loughran was cleverly deceived in the flight by Anosha Nasir, but Georgina Dempsey and Siuin Woods will be disappointed by the shots they chose for their dismissals.

Dempsey (5 off 11) attempted a ramp shot, but was castled by Areesha Noor Bhatti, while Woods reverse-swept Rida Aslam straight to short, third. Only Zara Craig stuck around to assist Squires in getting the total beyond 100. Her 17 was off 13 balls, with three fours.

Ultimately, Ireland settled for 113 for seven – and the nagging feeling that they could have scored more.

In contrast, Pakistan’s batting effort was a consolidated effort of precision. Eyman Fatima (25 off 17 balls) and Shawaal Zulfiqar (18 off 20 balls) got the ball rolling by adding 44 runs in the powerplay. That brisk start brought the required rate down and afforded Warda Yousaf and Syeda Aroob Shah the freedom to unfurl their shots.

The former made sure she saw the chase through, ending on 24 not out from 31 deliveries. At the other end, Shah blazed away. She helped herself to 35 from just 25 balls, collecting four boundaries along the way.

When Shah was dismissed with the end in sight, Laiba Nasir was on hand to finish the job with Yousaf. The win arrived in the 18th over, with 15 balls to spare. Dempsey, Freya Sargent and Craig took a wicket apiece for Ireland, but they would have left the North-West University Oval wondering what could have been if they had chalked up 20 more runs or so to put Pakistan under real pressure.

Scores in brief:

Toss: Ireland, who chose to bat.

Ireland 113 for seven in 20 overs (Annabel Squires 55 not out, Zara Craig 17, Anosha Nasir two for 17, Rida Aslam two for 26)

Pakistan 117 for three in 17.3 overs (Syeda Aroob Shah 35, Eyman Fatima 25, Warda Yousaf 24 not out)

Pakistan won by seven wickets with 15 balls to spare.