March 13, 2015

In the immediate aftermath of their 2007 World Cup match, the Irish players were celebrating an upset victory while a dejected Pakistan squad was coming to terms with an unexpected early exit from the tournament.

It was nothing like what they'd have to endure the following day when Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room in suspicious and sensational circumstances, ensuring the match will be long remembered as one of the darker periods in the history of the tournament.

The teams meet in Adelaide on Sunday in the last match of the group stage for 2015, bringing back memories for players on both sides who were around eight years ago. There are quarterfinals spots on the line, yet much of the pre-match discussion has centered on an episode a long time ago, and long way away.

On St. Patrick's Day that year - March 17 - and 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) away from Adelaide, Ireland stunned Pakistan by three wickets to dump the 1992 champions from the tournament at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

For wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien, who scored 72 runs to lead Ireland, and captain William Porterfield, the memories of that match are all good. Those two players and Niall's brother Kevin (16 not out that day) are expected to be in the lineup Sunday when the Irish have the opportunity to again dent Pakistan's progress at the World Cup.

Younis Khan batted for Pakistan that day, but lasted only three balls and didn't score as his team was bowled out for 132. Allrounder Shahid Afridi sat out the Ireland game, but played in other matches either side of it in '07.

The 37-year-old Khan has played three of Pakistan's five matches in the 2015 tournament so far and is a senior member of the squad, along with Afridi. He said this week that the Pakistan lineup would try to honor the memory of Woolmer, the well-traveled and widely admired former England batsman.

Woolmer played 19 test matches for England but spent time living in South Africa and coaching in Asia long after he retired from playing. He was found dead in the bathroom of his Kingston hotel room a day after Pakistan lost the 2007 match to Ireland.

Jamaican police announced they were opening a murder investigation into Woolmer's death and the case became more sensationalized when Mark Shields, the deputy police commissioner of Jamaica, said Woolmer had died from ''asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation.''

But in November 2007, a Jamaican jury recorded an open verdict on Woolmer's death after deciding that there was insufficient evidence of either a criminal act or natural causes.

Speculation, however, continues to this day as to whether Woolmer was murdered or died in some other way.

''This is surely a very emotional game for me and all of us,'' Khan said this week in Adelaide. ''I remember Bob a lot. He contributed so much to Pakistan cricket. I hope we can win this game and some more in the World Cup. There would be nothing better to dedicate to Bob's memory.''

Younis said his team, which needs a victory to stay in the hunt for a quarterfinal place, will concentrate on the present and not look for any revenge from 2007. The teams have played since, including in a rare tie at Dublin in 2013.

''It is a crucial match for us as you never know what will happen on the points table,'' Khan said. ''Ireland is a side capable of causing an upset. So we are going to take this match very seriously and there is no element of us trying to avenge the 2007 defeat.''

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