'Cock-a-hoop' Ireland out to prove they are No. 1
Ireland captain Trent Johnston has said his side are 'cock-a-hoop' after storming into the final of the ICC World Cricket League Division One on the back of five straight wins. In Saturday's final at Amstelveen, they take on Scotland, who finished second in the league phase after a close win over Afghanistan on Friday.
"To go into the final with five from five, especially the way we won today, taking the last six wickets for six runs, means we are cook-a-hoop and full of confidence," Johnston said after Ireland's 39-run victory over Netherlands on Friday.
Ireland have played their previous two matches in Amstelveen, something which Johnston felt could prove an advantage to his team. "What's just as important is that we'll be playing our third match on this pitch so we know what to expect," he said. "We have an edge over Scotland by virtue of winning our group match against them, albeit helped by the toss of a coin on a sporting pitch."
Despite several first-choice Ireland players being tied up on the county circuit, the team easily topped the table in the league phase. "Before the tournament I don't think we were given much of a chance, missing half our team through county commitments and injuries and I would have made Afghanistan favourites as they've had their full-strength side here," Johnston said. "But we've brought in the young guys and they have been a real boost for us experienced players, it shows we have the strength in depth to fall back on."
Johnston said he expected a tough match on Saturday but was confident Ireland could reconfirm their place as the top Associate nation. "It'll be tough, it's always hard against Scotland, but we know that if we bring our A game then we can win the trophy," he said. "We won't be taking Scotland lightly, we'll be determined to prove Ireland is the number-one Associate team."
Scotland's opening batsman, Fraser Watts, also expected a hard-fought clash in the final and said that his side could take the title if they played to their potential. "We have full respect for Ireland but we're in form and are now a confident side," Watts said. "We have belief in ourselves and I think it will be a very evenly-contested match.
"Ireland will come very hard at us and will try to make life difficult for us. We just need to keep our nerve and do our jobs individually. And if we manage to do our jobs, I'm sure we can win the final tomorrow."