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Thrilling tie in Dublin

Ireland fell agonisingly short of a first win over a Test-playing nation in Dublin as the opening RSA Insurance one-day international against Pakistan ended in a tie.

Kevin O'Brien swept the final ball from Saeed Ajmal for four to level the scores after Paul Stirling's second century in as many games against Pakistan had set the platform for a historic success.

O'Brien attempted to complete the job, thrashing an unbeaten 84 from 47 balls, but the hosts had to be content with a result that further vindicates their growing status.

Ireland memorably beat Pakistan on St Patrick's Day at the 2007 World Cup, their first major success, and thoughts were returning to that match in Jamaica as Stirling made light work of an attack featuring the world's top-ranked ODI bowler Ajmal.

At one point Stirling launched the mystery spinner into the Clontarf Pavilion off one knee as he hit full flow.

A brief scare on 99, when he was left diving for his crease, was avoided before the opener reached his century off 101 balls with the aid of 12 fours and a six.

Even when he fell soon after, to an ugly swipe at seven-foot fast bowler Mohammad Irfan in the powerplay, O'Brien took charge.

The hosts had still needed 105 when Stirling departed, in a match reduced to 47 overs a side by rain, but O'Brien’s lusty strokeplay took it to the wire as Ireland finished on 275 for five.

It meant Mohammad Hafeez's own century earlier in a score of 266 for five - a total improved to 275 on the Duckworth/Lewis Method because of the rain - was not enough for Pakistan as their preparations for next month's Champions Trophy suffered a setback.