Adelaide, Australia: William Porterfield posted his first World Cup century in an otherwise mediocre batting display by Ireland as it was restricted to 237 against Pakistan in the last game of the group stage.
It was a crucial innings by the Ireland captain, with the winner of the Adelaide Oval encounter advancing to the quarterfinals against Australia, also in Adelaide, on Friday.
Porterfield, who was dropped on 99, was dismissed for 107 when caught by Shahid Afridi off the bowling of Sohail Khan. Wahab Riaz returned the best bowling figures for Pakistan with 3-54.
The Pakistan squad, which has not won a match when batting second at this tournament, will like its chances of chasing down the total, particularly when Ireland's weakness is its bowling.
Ireland didn't reach 200 until the 44th over and its run rate dipped when Porterfield departed, losing 3-22 in one collapse and its last six wickets for 55 runs. Ireland also failed to establish any big partnerships, its longest being 48.
With St. Patrick's Day two days away, the Irish crowd, some wearing oversized plush green top hats, were the more vocal in the stands. The green in Pakistan's flag and the teams both decked out in similar colors ensured that the hue was well represented around the ground.
While Ireland made no changes to its lineup for the match, Pakistan was without pace spearhead Mohammad Irfan, who has a hip injury, and dropped batsman Younis Khan. Haris Sohail and Ehsan Adil came into the starting 11.
Porterfield welcomed Adil in his first over of the day with a cracking pull shot to the boundary. But Adil came back in his next over to trap opener Paul Stirling (3) lbw.
Ed Joyce survived an appeal of a caught-behind on 10, but the video review requested by Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq wasn't conclusive enough to overturn the not out decision of umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge.
Joyce only added one more run before skying a delivery from Riaz to Umar Akmal on 11.
Porterfield reached his half-century from 59 balls in the 16th over with a boundary shortly before Niall O'Brien (12), who led the Irish scorers with 72 runs in the upset win over Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup, was caught by Akmal at short cover off Rahat Ali's bowling, leaving Ireland at 86-3.
Ireland reached 100 in the 22nd over before Andrew Balbirnie was the fourth wicket to fall when he was caught by Shahid Afridi.
There were a few Pakistan fielding errors — a Misbah misfield in the deep gifted Ireland two runs, wicketkeeper Sarfarez Ahmed missed the stumps with a throw when Porterfield and Gary Wilson (29) had a mix-up on a single, and Riaz also missed an caught and bowled attempt.
Porterfield's century was the fifth by an Ireland player at the World Cup.