ICC World Twenty20 2012 September 12, 2012

Ireland face up to difficult task

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland have a huge challenge ahead of them in the World Twenty20, having been grouped with one of the favourites, West Indies, and a team with a reputation for doing well on the world stage, Australia. They had made a splash in the 2011 World Cup with a thrilling defeat of England, and their captain William Porterfield was certain Ireland would not be pushovers in Sri Lanka.

"We are confident with ourselves, with what we've got in terms of player potential," Porterfield said. "Craig McDermott (who recently joined as Ireland's bowling coach) has fit in pretty well, working with the bowlers. They've been taking confidence from him with the fact that he was with Australia before us but he's come in and he's seen what we've got and he's got a lot of confidence within the squad that we can go out there and beat anyone."

Ireland had a strong showing in the qualifying tournament six months ago in Dubai, where they won all but one of their 11 matches. Since then, they have played only three official T20s, losing all of them to Bangladesh. Porterfield, though, was happy with the lead-up to the World T20.

"The majority of the lads have been here about a week or so and we've had a couple of games so we've got some game time in the middle," he said. "Preparations have gone really well so far.

"Since we qualified in March we've had a season's cricket in between but it's always been something all the lads have had half an eye on throughout the season as we knew we were going to finish off with the World Cup in Sri Lanka and it's obviously the subcontinent, so it's a great atmosphere and a great place to play cricket."

With the World T20's first round featuring only two matches per side, Porterfield wanted Ireland to make a strong start. "Our first game is against Australia," he said, "so it's important we start well. There are groups of three teams so you've got to win at least one game if not two to go through out of the groups."

Ireland have a warm-up game against Zimbabwe on Thursday and another against Bangladesh on Monday before the match against Australia next Wednesday.