ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight Group F:
Pakistan 159-5 (20 ovs) bt Ireland 120-9 (20 ovs) by 39 runs
Highlights - Pakistan beat Ireland (UK only)
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at The Oval
Ireland bowed out of the ICC World Twenty20 after a 39-run defeat to Pakistan at The Oval in their final Super Eights match.
Pakistan's captain Younus Khan had spoken of his desire to "crush" the Irish in revenge for their shock reverse against the same opponents in the 2007 World Cup.
And although they only batted moderately to hit 159-5, Younus's side were able to claim plenty of satisfaction through their bowlers, who had far too much in hand for the Irish, who finished on 120-9.
Kamran Akmal's 57, with three other batsmen cut off in the 20s, proved crucial to the Pakistan total as Ireland produced a typically resourceful bowling performance. Tall paceman Boyd Rankin was excellent, and though he ended up wicket-less, he was hit for just 11 runs.
The result means Pakistan advance to the semi-finals as New Zealand and Sri Lanka - who meet on Tuesday in what is effectively a play-off to reach the last four - cannot both overtake them.
"All our boys are focused - they want to win this tournament," said skipper Younus.
"We were short in our innings by about 15 runs. With bowling like that, you should score 170, 180.
"Our spinners did a great job and with these kind of performances, we can win the competition."
Pakistan won the toss, but Akmal and fellow opener Shahzaib Hasan were unable to get the team off to a flying start, despite taking 20 runs off the fourth over, bowled by Trent Johnston.
Rankin, with his pace and bounce, proved really tough to get away and Alex Cusack's first over brought him the wicket of Shahzaib, who lofted a drive straight to mid-off.
The promotion of Shahid Afridi to number three quickly improved the run rate, even though he abandoned the no-holds-barred slogging which has got him into trouble of late. He made 24 off 12 balls but then picked out long-off after misreading a very slow Kyle McCallan off-break.
Ireland came under pressure as Akmal started upping his boundary count, but when Younus was bowled by Regan West, Pakistan lost a bit of momentum. And although Misbah-ul-Haq whacked a Kyle McCallan full toss into the Lock and Laker stand, his dismissal soon afterwards left two new batsman at the crease going into the last two overs.
Abdul Razzaq hit a towering six off Cusack in the final over but Pakistan's total must have been significantly short of their initial target.
Ireland's chances of chasing down their target took a serious blow when their best batsman, Niall O'Brien, top-edged a pull shot as they began their reply.
And although Paul Stirling, Ireland's 18-year-old debutant of whom great things are expected, hit two crisp boundaries, he was bowled attempting to slog Afridi.
Ireland's chances faded when skipper Will Porterfield was caught
The game entered a quiet period, in which William Porterfield and Kevin O'Brien ticked along at seven or eight an over when nine or 10 needed.
But eventually Porterfield, who made a distinguished 40, chipped a catch into the infield, and the situation quickly became bleak for the Irish as the required rate increased exponentially.
Umar Gul went for speed and accuracy instead of the reverse-swing which stung New Zealand and he had Pakistan's fans roaring when removing the off-stumps belonging to both Johnston and Andrew White.
Gul took 2-19 and will be vital to Pakistan's hopes in the semi-finals and beyond. The same goes for off-spinner Ajmal, who finished up with 4-19, thanks to two stumpings in his final over.
Ireland, meanwhile, will head for the United Arab Emirates later this year to try and qualify for the next World Twenty20.
"We've shown and reinforced that we can compete with these sides and hold them to respectable totals and really put pressure on them.
"I think with the bat we've learnt a lot of things and looking at these teams and playing against them, that we've got to make a step up in class," said Porterfield.
"We've got a lot of things to work on from that perspective for when the T20 qualifiers come back around and hopefully we'll improve for next year's tournament.
"The lads have seen what level we have to be at and hopefully we'll be better prepared for the next Twenty20."