ICC World T20 Qualifier 2013-14 November 15, 2013

PNG gave us a wake-up call

William Porterfield
The Ireland captain's tour diary during the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE

The UAE is a great place to come. I had a pretty successful month here at the start of the season, but unfortunately I didn't score too many runs after that in a Warwickshire jersey. You're guaranteed sunshine, which helps. The pitches are pretty batsman friendly. The two pitches we played on in the two warm-up games were quality pitches once again and hopefully that continues throughout the tournament.

I'm pretty pleased with the form I was in for Ireland this year. Capping it off with a hundred against England was pleasing from a personal point of view. Obviously it would have been a lot more special if we had won that game. It's difficult when you get 100 and lose. I did it in Kenya a few years ago too. It's hard any game you lose. I'd rather do like we did in Bangalore, get a first-baller and knock off 327. From a personal point of view it's nice to lead from the front and score runs at the top of the order and practice what I preach as captain, but being on the losing side takes a bit of the gloss off it.

It's been a good two warm-up games for us and we've put in good practice. In the game against Holland, the lengths we bowled were pretty good and the bowlers all got a decent run. Restricting them to 139 on a pitch that was probably a 155-160 wicket was pretty good and to knock the runs off as comfortably as we did was great to see.

I don't think we performed as well against Papua New Guinea. It was just the wake-up call we need. We're going to be playing against a few teams that we don't have a lot of information on. We play teams like Canada, Namibia and UAE quite a bit so we know a bit on those players, but we're going to come up cold against a few teams we don't have any information on and they had a few lads who can strike the ball pretty cleanly. That's something that we're going to have to adjust to and adapt to quicker. It's good that we saw that against Papua New Guinea, who I don't think are here just to make up numbers. I think they can beat teams. They've got a few very good players in their side. They outbowled and outbatted us.

If anyone thought the 'lesser teams' on paper, that we can just turn up and beat them, we realised against Papua New Guinea that's not going to happen. If anyone had any doubts, it's not going to be easy. We've got be right on the ball. In the last qualifier, we lost the first game against Namibia then built up some good momentum before we came up against Italy. We didn't know anything about their players except Gareth Berg and Michael Di Venuto. They only got 100 against us but we only knocked it off with two wickets to spare. That was the wake-up call we needed back then and we've had it against Papua New Guinea now. I'm grateful it was a warm-up and not an in competition game.

Hopefully we'll look back at the end of the tournament and say those two warm-up games did us a world of good. We played against a strong Dutch side and beat them playing our style of cricket, and turned up the next day and if anyone thought the game was going to be a walkover it wasn't the case. We have to play to our potential every game we go out there.

Off the field, we've got two teams within the squad that we play in different competitions. We have gym sessions where we split into teams. There's a bit of fun side and a bit of competitive side. With the rugby I think we may have to hire a full-time ref to come on tour with us because that causes the most flashpoints. I've been on a few tours in the past where a few lads have stood toe-to-toe before a game. It just shows the competitive edge we have and the competitive bunch we are. I like when we play rugby and it gets competitive. We have to police it ourselves and make sure it doesn't step over the edge, but it's a great way to keep the competitive edge going building up to a game and the tournament.

William Porterfield is the captain of Ireland