ICC WCL Championship July 6, 2013

Ireland aim for safe World Cup passage

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland will attempt to secure qualification for their third consecutive World Cup by beating Netherlands in two ICC WCL Championship fixtures over the next three days and their captain, William Porterfield, has emphasised how important the achievement would be in the continuing development of Irish cricket.

The top two teams in the WCL Championship will qualify automatically for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Ireland currently head the table, two points ahead of Scotland with two games in hand and three clear of Netherlands, who are themselves eyeing a direct route to the tournament.

The two fixtures will take place in Amstelveen, with Ireland unbeaten in their last six ODIs against Netherlands. Both matches will be streamed live on the ICC website.

"These matches mean everything for both sides as both of us must win," Porterfield said. "The Dutch have got to win to keep things in their hands while we know that two wins will get us to Australia and New Zealand.

"Cricket Ireland has set out a strategic plan to be playing Test cricket by 2020 and that involves a lot of hard yards. One of the boxes we have got to tick is winning events like this. Doing that is very important for Irish cricket as it will give us the profile to help bring more people to the game and that will hopefully bring in funding that will keep the game growing."

Ed Joyce spoke to ESPNcricinfo earlier in the week about the difficulties Ireland continue to face in securing matches against the Full Member nations. Exposure during global ICC tournaments - they have been at the last four, including World Twenty20s - has been vital, with memorable victories over Pakistan and England at the last two World Cups.

Cricket Ireland has been very transparent in its aims to develop the game, setting out a blueprint to achieve Test status by 2020. For Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland's chief executive, it is all about "being first through the gate" and he said that failure to win the WCL Championship would be "a backward step". Qualification would help Ireland's forward planning in the next 18 months, as well as bring a $1 million preparation grant from the ICC.

Should Ireland lose either or both of the two games against Netherlands, they will have to beat Scotland when the two teams meet in the final round of matches in September. The six countries who do not warrant automatic World Cup spots will take part in a qualifying event in New Zealand next year for two remaining places.

"It would be an advantage to go through now, or even in September rather than through the Qualifier because it gives [coach] Phil Simmons a chance to identify his squad as far out from 2015 as possible," Deutrom said. "We can set up Full Member opponents and get planning in place from 18 months out rather than 12 months out and it is all part of the way we are thinking.

"We do not just want to qualify though. We do not just want to do that and think 'we've qualified, now let's sit back and rest on our laurels'. We want to do it as winners of the World Cricket League Championship, as to do that would be matching our expectations and those of our government backers, our sponsors and our fans.

"Everyone has invested in us and continues to do so, and so, for us, it is all about being first through the gate and cementing our place as the top Associate, something we have been for the last four or five years. Anything less would be regarded as a disappointment and a backward step."

Netherlands have competed in four World Cups, including the last three, and will be aiming to record their first victory over Ireland in 50-over cricket since 2006. Their captain, Peter Borren, played in that game and knows that another victory would take them above Scotland and substantially improve their chances of finishing in the top two.

"We have got four games left, two of them against Ireland and two against Canada, and if we win three of them then that should be enough," he said.

"For any country, the World Cup is the ultimate stage and for Associate teams like us it is our chance to get exposure and to compete with the big boys. For Dutch cricket it is huge because in order to expand the game we have got to be on the global stage as often as possible."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on July 7, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    @cricket2011 I wouldn't go as far as saying Ireland are easily better than them by any means. Sure Ireland could beat them. They could actually romp them. There's a lot of promise coming through Irish cricket and there's no doubt in that.

    But Bangladesh of recent have shown up some of the mid-tier nations. They had a disappointing series against Zimbabwe and have had some series setbacks with players and scandals but they are certainly improving as a team.

    I'm not saying Ireland couldn't beat them at a test level, because I think they could, but not right now. Ireland needs a bit more time to build resources and develop as a nation and I think their goal of 2020 test status is very achievable.

    I'm a huge Australian cricket fan. But I'd love to see the Irish up there and possibly upset one of the big guys in a series. It'd be huge and would add competition.

    But it's a process and it takes time.

  • PeterJerome on July 7, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Series like the upcoming IND-ZIM carry no sporting significance at all. The ICC could have easily included one of the associate teams in the tourney with a larger picture in mind. It will be so boring to watch Ind maul the hapless Zimbabwe. In this scenario, atleast an IRE-ZIM tie would generate some interest. I truly hope ZIM pulls off atleast one match agst the Indians. Just for a minimum interest. (Wont be following the series) Very poor planning ICC. When u say the FTP is crowded, it should series that we generate viewership interests, not ones where like this where India plans to send a second string teams and still look over-whelming favourites. Work in a way that we have atleast one new test team every 5 years. Good leaders make good followers. If the reputation of such a quality sport is meager today, it only because poor leaders.

  • Cricket Fan on July 7, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Current Irish team is far better than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. They should get at-least a temporary TEST STATUS . If Eoin Morgan, Hamish Marshal and Rankin play for them they can beat any test Nations easly.

  • Muthuvel on July 7, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    Ireland with Eoin Morgan and Rankin would have been a very good team,its a shame. They need to be given more exposure. Atleast India/Eng/Aus should play a series with them.

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    @Waheed Zadran Afg have shown a remarkable rise up the ranks in a very short space of time, but they only deserve to be at Wc2015 if they qualify. At the moment they have a lot of work to do to get there http://www.espncricinfo.com/wcl-championship-2011-13/engine/current/series/518430.html?view=pointstable @Haider Khan yes imho PCB are by far the biggest supporters of cricket in Ireland of any of the current test nations. Ire now have started on the path to creating a 1st class multiday competition with 3 teams at the moment and looking to make it 4 very soon. (Aus and NZ only have 6 each) However the future for cricket in Ireland is looking very bright when you see the talent coming through the youth system to follow the likes of Stirling, Morgan and Dockrell

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    Afghanistan have also featured in the last two editions of the ICC's World Twenty20 (2010 and 2012). They have played ODIs against two Test-playing nations so far, Pakistan and Australia, and despite losing both the matches, players like Hamid Hassan and Mohammad Nabi turned heads with their impressive performances.

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    "Afghanistan Deserve to be in World Cup 2015" Afghanistan have been granted the Associate membership of the ICC to become the 37th country to get that status. The decision was taken by the ICC at its ongoing annual conference, which ends on June 29 in London. The nomination request had been sent by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) last year based on the continuous progress made by Afghanistan, especially in its cricket development.

    Afghanistan became an Affiliate member of the ICC in 2001 when they travelled to Pakistan for their first tour. Languishing at one time in the fifth division of the World Cricket League, Afghanistan won the hearts of global cricket fans when they nearly qualified for the 2011 World Cup, but they lost to Canada and could not surpass Kenya's net run rate in the World Cup qualifiers. Immediately, they were granted the ODI status, valid until 2013. "Afghanistan Deserve to be in World Cup 2015"

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    players lik nail obrein n kevin obrein with ed joyce are better players. ireland should be considered they are far better than zimbabwe their commitments towards cricket is better. they should be given test status...even they are playin around the world n perform well in all formats.

  • Rohit on July 6, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    I donot know why doesnt the ICC see that Ireland deserves to be given Test Status. Atleast theys seem to be better than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Would love to see them playing Test Cricekt soon... and hope the others like Netherlands, Denmark, Scotland, Namibia, Canada make the cut for ODI status. That would make Cricket truly a global sport.

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    I dont understand with ICC..! Ireland deserves to be given the test status..They are a top team if given More exposure..!Pakistan have always Done what they could for Ireland by Playing against them recently(1-0) and 2 years back a series which PAk won 2-0... Ireland is a far better team then Zimbabwe and I hope to see them soon playing againt Africa.India lanka and others...! Best of Luck Irish Cricket..!From A Pakistani (Y)

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