Six Nations: Ireland lose injured Gibson-Park and Healy for Wales opener

By Sports Desk February 04, 2023

There was late disruption for Ireland as Jamison Gibson-Park and Cian Healy were ruled out of their Six Nations opener against Wales on Saturday.

Scrum-half Gibson-Park and prop Healy missed out due to injury, forcing head coach Andy Farrell to make late changes.

The vastly experienced Conor Murray replaced Gibson-Park in the number nine shirt at the Principality Stadium.

Craig Casey and Dave Kilcoyne were drafted in to take their places on the bench in Cardiff.

Ireland, the top-ranked side in the world, also this week lost key man Tadhg Furlong to injury ahead of their first match of the tournament.

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    Babar Azam has said he will leave the decision of remaining as Pakistan captain to the PCB following their disappointing T20 World Cup campaign. 

    The Shaheens concluded their run in the competition with a three-wicket triumph over Ireland in Florida on Sunday, but failed to progress to the Super 8 stage at the expense of the United States. 

    Shaheen Afridi starred for Pakistan by taking three wickets, with Azam leading from the front with the bat as he hit an unbeaten 32 to help secure the victory. 

    "Yes we finished well, we took early wickets with the ball," Azam said after the game. "With the bat we didn't finish well. Lost back to back wickets, got over the line in the end.

    "I think with the bowling, conditions suit our bowlers, in batting few mistakes in USA, India matches, when you lose wickets pressure is on you.

    "Let's see, what team needs, I'll be okay with it. Have a good bunch of players, we've to go home, chat and see where we lacked, and then come back. Couldn't finish off close games, as a team we weren't good as a team."

    Pakistan's exit from the World Cup was the earliest they had been knocked out of the competition, having lost their opening two games to the USA and India. 

    Azam's future as the captain has been called into question, and could hand the armband over to Afridi, who was named as the new captain following Pakistan's league stage exit of the ODI World Cup in India last year.

    The 29-year-old explained that conversations will be had to discuss his future as Pakistan captain, but admitted the decision is down to the PCB. 

    "When I left captaincy (previously), I felt that I shouldn't be captain any more and announced it myself. When PCB gave it back, that was their decision," Azam said. 

    "Now we'll go back and have a discussion about what all has happened here. If I leave captaincy again then I will inform everyone.

    "For now, I haven't thought about it and the decision is up to PCB."

  • Pakistan end disappointing T20 World Cup with Ireland win Pakistan end disappointing T20 World Cup with Ireland win

    Pakistan salvage some pride in their final T20 World Cup match by holding on to earn a three-wicket victory over Ireland in Lauderhill on Sunday.

    Both sides were already out of the competition before the match, but Pakistan clearly wanted to go out on a high as they came out of the blocks quickly.

    Ireland got off to a nightmare start, slumping to 4-3 in just the second over. Shaheen Afridi (3-22) and Imad Wasim (3-8) impressed as Pakistan smothered their opponents, though Gareth Delany managed to gain some momentum with 31 off 19 balls.

    Ireland eventually stumbled to 106-9 and looked out of sorts while bowling as well as Pakistan raced to 52-2 by the end of the eighth over.

    Barry McCarthy (3-15) set up a nervy finish though as his intervention saw Pakistan lose four wickets during the next three overs.

    Ireland could not hold onto their dominance though as Afridi scored two sixes in the 19th over to reach 111-7 and ensure a Pakistan win with seven balls remaining.

    Pakistan are left to rue their slow start to the tournament, while Ireland finish their T20 World Cup campaign without registering a single win, with both sides now heading home.

    Data Debrief: Too little, too late?

    It is the second time in the tournament that Pakistan have had two bowlers take three wickets each after Naseem Shah (3-21) and Haris Rauf (3-21) in their defeat to India.

    Overall, this is the lowest match aggregate (217) involving Pakistan and Ireland in T20Is.

  • Emerging Ireland secures 3-0 50-over series sweep over West Indies Academy with four-wicket win Emerging Ireland secures 3-0 50-over series sweep over West Indies Academy with four-wicket win

    Emerging Ireland secured a four-wicket win over the West Indies Academy to complete a 3-0 sweep of their 50-over series in Bready on Friday.

    The tourists, after being out in to bat, were guilty of not using up their allotted overs as they were dismissed for 236 with all of seven overs to spare.

    Ackeem Auguste led the way with a 68-ball 81 including 10 fours and two sixes while Joshua James hit 26* off 25 balls.

    Skipper Gavin Hoey led the Irish charge with his leg-spin with 4-45 from his 10 overs while medium pacer Olly Riley took 3-38 from nine overs.

    Emerging Ireland then needed only 39 overs to reach 238-6 and secure victory and a 3-0 series triumph.

    Morgan Topping led the way for the hosts with 46 while Seamus Lynch hit 45* off just 28 balls including six fours and two sixes.

    Chris de Freitas and Scott MacBeth also had solid contributions with 38 and 36, respectively.

    Captain Nyeem Young took 3-56 from nine overs for the Academy.

    The teams will now turn their attention to a pair of four-day games from June 18-21 in Comber and June 25-28 in Belfast.

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