DUBLIN - Pakistan cricket team eye Ireland whitewash ahead of its al important five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against England.

Pakistan team, which is striving to get direct qualification in the World Cup 2019, started the first ODI against Ireland very well crushing them by 255 runs and the players are eager to give such more outstanding performances against the lower-ranked team to prepare well for England ODIs.

It would be in Pakistan's interests to come up against a stiffer test ahead of their five-match series against England. Ireland have stuttered through their busiest-ever home season but the incentive of a full member scalp remains on the table; they will certainly want to finish without chants of "Pakistan Zindabad!" ringing in their ears.

Pakistan have had their difficulties against Ireland in the past but, on the back of Sharjeel Khan's mighty hitting, they breezed to a confidence-boosting victory to start off the limited-overs leg of their tour. There is not much to be gained in the way of rankings points by beating Ireland but winning has yet to become a habit for Azhar Ali's ODI side.

Azhar did not gain any respite from his own trough of 50-over form but Pakistan appear to have a better balance to their side, with several allrounders and a blend of youth and experience. M Nawaz enjoyed his debut, with fifty and a key wicket, while a successful comeback for Umar Gul was also encouraging.

Sharjeel Khan became the seventh opening partner for Azhar Ali since he was made ODI captain after the World Cup and, at a stroke, the most successful. Having scored fifty on debut in 2013, Sharjeel failed to nail down a position and spent two years out of the side. He won a recall in T20s after an impressive PSL and, having swelled his one-day average from 17.63 to 28.83 in one boundary-filled innings, has earned an extended crack.

With only one fifty in 12 innings, William Porterfield has come in for increasing scrutiny at the top of the order. The long-serving Ireland captain moved down to No. 3 for the first match against Pakistan - though he was at the crease inside the first over after Paul Stirling's two-ball duck - and he will need to draw on a decade of experience to lift his side after posting their lowest total at home.

About the condition of pitch, Porterfield said the surface for the first match ‘wasn't a 330-all-out pitch, but it wasn't an 80-all-out pitch either’. It should provide something for everyone, provided the teams can get on - rain is forecast for much of the day in Dublin.

Yasir Shah and Wahab Riaz were rested after their Test exertions but may want a white-ball game to tune up for the resumption of competition with England. M Aamir could be line for a break. Ireland are likely to stick with most of the team that were so ignominiously manhandled the other day but Peter Chase - whose seven overs cost 70 - could make way for Craig Young.

PAKISTAN (PROBABLE): Azhar Ali (capt), Sharjeel Khan, M Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, M Nawaz, Imad Wasim/Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Hasan Ali.

IRELAND (PROBABLE): Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, William Porterfield (capt), Niall O'Brien, Kevin O'Brien, Gary Wilson, Stuart Poynter (wk), Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Barry McCarthy, Peter Chase/Craig Young.