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.

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  • Dummy4 on September 13, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    Ireland has a good chance to qualify. This is a type of cricket format which throws out more and more big results. Ireland has a side capable of beating anyone.

    We just need the lads to fire on the day, which Ireland always does.

    Australia and the Windies won't be easy games but they're not the teams to be feared as they were in 2007. Ireland's progress has been immense and arguably the other two sides have fallen back to the pack a bit. Come on Ireland! :)

  • Andrew on September 13, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Well done beating Zimbabwe. I often get the feeling Zimbabwe is reluctant to schedule matches against Ireland for fear of losing face against them. Hopefully I'm wrong about that, Zimbabwe should play Ireland (& for that matter Afghanistan) more often, it will be good for all three countries.

  • Dummy4 on September 13, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    definitely.. they should be given full ICC membership. They are more better than Zimbabwe & Windies....

  • Mr on September 13, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    This is one of my favorite associate teams (which deserves permanent ODI and T20I status). I hope they will end up with at least one upset or at least a nail biting finish. That's what they need right now.

  • Dummy4 on September 13, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    If we had 4 group games I would be very confident of at least one win. With 2 "cup finals" it ill be trickier but I believe this side has the talent and the addition of McDermott is a master stroke and proof that we want to be at the top table with the best. Expect great performances from the bowlers and as always great fielding - if Stirlo/Wilson/Obrien/Porterfield/Joyce can get some runs, and they all have been in county cricket I think we might put one over on the Aussies ... Stirlo (in bumbles top 20 players for the tournament btw) can win a game in 5 overs but my dark horse for Irish player of competition is Gary Wilson ...... great form, can play attacking or holding ..... come on the lads!

  • Sami on September 12, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    Its amazing that not only fans but Cricketing experts are already writing off minnows Afghanistan, Ireland, Zimbabwe and especially Bangladesh even though history suggests its most certainly possible especially at this form of the game that any team can win and qualify on the day. In fact in my opinion, this is probably the toughest of all tournaments and an interesting one considering just how much all of the weak teams have developed and improved now especially a team like Ireland where a lot of their players play full time at County Cricket. I have a funny feeling that at least 2 of these 4 minnows will make it to the next round but who knows?........

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