Pakistan moved closer to a World Cup quarter-final berth after restricting Ireland to 237 all out in their winner-takes-all clash in Adelaide on Sunday.
Ireland captain William Porterfield played a lone hand with 107 at the Adelaide Oval after the opener won the toss and elected to bat.
The left-hander hit 11 boundaries and a six to boost Ireland’s total after four wickets had fallen for 134 runs by the 30th over.
But none of the other top five managed to reach 20 on a slow pitch and wicket-keeper Gary Wilson was the next highest scorer with 29 before the Irish lost their final wicket off the last ball of the innings.
Left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz took three wickets for 54 runs, with Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali chipping in with two apiece.
Pakistan have not won a match batting second in this tournament, but a run-rate of under five an over beneath the floodlights is not beyond the Test nation.
The winner of this match will join India, South Africa and the West Indies in the quarter-finals from Pool B, and knock the loser out of the tournament.
The West Indies defeated the United Arab Emirates by six wickets in Napier earlier on Sunday to draw level with both Ireland and Pakistan on six points each.
However, should the Adelaide match end in a tie or no result washout, both Ireland and Pakistan would advance to the knockout stages, with the West Indies missing out.
Pakistan Seamer Ehsan Adil, who replaced the injured Mohammad Irfan for the key match, found early success in his second over when he had Paul Stirling leg before for three.
Ed Joyce, who hit a century against Zimbabwe earlier in the tournament, fell for just 11 when a top-edge off Wahab was well-caught by Umar Akmal close to the wicket.
Akmal then snatched a sharp chance at short cover to dismiss Niall O’Brien for 12 before Andrew Balbirnie fell to left-arm spinner Haris Sohail for 18 to open up the lower order.
Porterfield batted till the 39th over when he mistimed an on-drive off Sohail and Shahid Afridi took a low diving catch running in from the edge of the circle.
Porterfield was the fifth Irish batsman to score a World Cup century after Jeremy Bray’s 115 against Zimbabwe in 2007, Kevin O’Brien’s 113 against England and Paul Stirling’s 101 versus the Netherlands, both in 2011, and Joyce’s 112 against Zimbabwe in this edition.
Pakistan made two changes from the side that upset South Africa, bringing in right-arm seamer Adil and all-rounder Haris in place of the injured Irfan and senior pro Younis Khan.
The seven-foot tall Irfan was ruled out with a hip injury, but a bigger surprise was Pakistan’s decision to omit the experienced Younis for this key game.
Ireland retained the same side that lost by eight wickets to defending champions India.