'We are here to win three games' - Porterfield
William Porterfield spoke like the leader of a side that had beaten an opponent ranked below it. There was no taking any opposition for granted but Ireland were also not going to treat this game as much more than the important victory it was for them in their bid to get to the Super 10 stage of the World T20. No making statements for themselves or on behalf of the Associate world, for now at least.
"It is just a win. People may have had Zimbabwe as favourites, people may have had us as favourites, it did not really bother us as a collective unit in the change rooms," Porterfield said. "We put pressure on ourselves to come here and win three games. Anything else over and above is speculation. That is how people look at it. We have come here to win three games of cricket to get into the Super 10. That is our first problem. We will not underestimate any team in the group for sure."
Just why there was no room for any underestimation was clear when Zimbabwe surged back with Ireland seeming to have sealed the game. Seven needed off 13 became one needed off the final ball and it needed a scrambled bye to take Ireland through. Porterfield said he had become increasingly anxious as Ireland threatened to give it away.
"They (nerves) were fine until there were three balls to go," he said. "Kevin [O'Brien] took 17 or so off the third-last over to get us down to seven needed off 12. You never lose a game from there but you have to give credit to the way the Zimbabwe death bowlers bowled. They put us under pressure there and took a couple of wickets. Got a couple of new lads at the crease and anything can happen in this format. All credit to the way they fought and quite a relief to get over the line."
Porterfield admitted Ireland had begun thinking about a possible Super Over. "We hadn't talked much about the Super Over until the last two balls to go. I think the worst would have been to bat first. That is one of the things that came to mind, when it got down to two off two balls. You have got to start thinking about that when it comes to one off one ball, you cannot keep going cold and wait for that last ball. We had started to think about it. As I said, we are pleased to be over the line."
It would have been heartbreaking for Ireland to lose after Porterfield and Paul Stirling set up the chase of 164 with an opening stand of 80 in just over eight overs. Stirling had clubbed his way to 60 off 33 before he holed out off a mishit. As he watched Ireland stumble towards the finish, Stirling thought he should have ended the game when he had the chance to do so.
"Would have been nice to go on and make a big score and really finish the game off," Stirling said. "We just had to keep being positive in the middle. We had wickets in hand and hopefully by the 11th or the 12th over we would have got into a position where it would have been difficult for Zimbabwe to come back again. So as far as I am concerned I could have really gone on and made a bigger score and really killed the game but at the moment just glad that the lads took us home."
The excitement of the chaotic finish was the icing for the substantial crowd which had warmed up to the entertainment provided by the Irish batsmen, so much that they had started shouting "Ireland, Ireland". Porterfield was grateful for the support.
"A great crowd that turned out," he said. "By the end they were making a lot of noise. I'd like to think a lot of it was Irish noise as well. Would like to thank the Bangladeshis for coming out and supporting ourselves and supporting cricket. If we are able to get big crowds here every game it is going to be fantastic. That is what we want to play in front of and hopefully we keep entertaining them."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo