Ireland v UAE, World T20, Group B, Sylhet March 19, 2014

Ireland show who are 'top of the tree'

There has been this sense of quiet inevitability to Ireland's World T20 campaign so far. From the start, they have maintained that they are here to win three games and get into the Super 10.

Of course, that should ideally be any side's goal coming into the tournament, but Ireland have achieved two-thirds of it so convincingly they can now go back to doing what they often do. Making statements. This time, it was a rarer one - for their fellow Associates. Ed Joyce, Man of the Match in the emphatic victory over UAE, said Ireland wanted to let them know who was "top of the tree." Which is partly why Ireland wanted to win big over UAE, which they did.

"We have obviously got four points and there is the chance that we could lose the last game. Netherlands could have four points, Zimbabwe could have four points," Joyce said. "It was important to win well but also make a statement against our fellow Associates that we are still top of the tree there. So it was good to get a relatively easy win.

"We have played well against the others for a really long time now. We are aware that the teams around us are improving all the time. We have played a lot of close games against teams like UAE and Afghanistan and Scotland in the last few years. We have come out on top most of the times. We definitely can't take anyone for granted."

In the event they do go down to Netherlands in their final group game, net run-rate will come into the frame, which was the reason why Ireland went harder as they closed in on UAE's total. "It could come to run-rate. Once we were about 80-odd, we talked about it, made a conscious effort to increase the run-rate. Kevin [O'Brien] came in, he usually wouldn't do so. It didn't work out but we knew we were close enough, the game was won anyway."

Ireland had already seized control when they restricted UAE to 123 for 6. Paul Stirling's offspin brought two early wickets after which the seamers, led by O'Brien, tied UAE down throughout the innings on what Joyce felt was a good batting surface.

"We pride ourselves on the way we bowled and the wicket was probably more an Irish and UK wicket than we are used to here which is why we picked [seamer] Tim Murtagh ahead of [spinner] Andy McBrine. It was a good choice by the captain and the coach, so credit goes to them.

"But huge credit goes to the bowling attack. It is a very good wicket and to restrict them to 120-odd, Man of the Match should have gone to one of the bowlers, really. They did a fantastic job, we fielded reasonably. We've still got a way to go with our fielding but we bowled very well, with great discipline."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    Thanks a lot to everyone, for the clarifications. I knew some waiting period was involved, but wasn't clear about it.

    I personally think, Ireland deserves a lot of encouragement. Given chance, they might do better than the current ZIM team. I wouldn't be surprised if they could match BD's team too. (BD is also gelling into a good team, with the newly inducted players.

    Nice to see, so many associate teams improving quite rapidly. Good for the lovely game of cricket, which all of us love.

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta: I think those Irish cricketers like Paul Stirling and george dockrell haven't been poached yet because they now have full time contracts with Cricket Ireland, and at the rate things are going they probably recognize they could play tests without shifting and earn a fair bit without ditching their national side. I don't think Irish players are willing to go play for a disgraceful England anymore and that's a factor I reckon.

  • ramachandra on March 20, 2014, 3:24 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta

    The thing is Jose, that if a player from a non test playing nation plays a test for a test playing nation, then for that player to play for the non test playing nation again, he has to wait for 5 years. But bizarrely for the same player to play for the test playing nation, he can do that the next day, provided he is willing.

    So Eoin Morgan has to wait 5 years to play for Ireland again. So should Boyd Rankin. There was some problem with Hamish Marshall playing for Ireland. He had tried.

  • Aasife on March 20, 2014, 3:14 GMT

    Bangladesh should play more matches in Ireland and vice versa. It would be good for both the teams. Bangladesh would gather valuable experience of playing on fast tracks. on the other hand, if the Irish can win against BD, they can ask the question about the Test status. I don't see any reason why they shouldn't get it, they have a cricket infrastructure like the English do. Afghanistan could also ask for it, but they don't have a 1st class structure and it's not safe to play there. I think Ireland should be the #11.

  • Andrew on March 20, 2014, 2:19 GMT

    @Jose P - in answer to your first question - there is a re-qualifying period needed. So Joyce played for Ireland, then played for England, then after a period of time which I dont recall - he is able to play for Ireland again. Eion Morgan is still an "English" player. IMO - should Morgan say I no longer wish to play for England - he should be immediately eligible to play for Ireland & once he does so - must re-sit the 4yr period should he wish to go back to playing for England. In other words get the minnow-produced players eligible instantly.

  • Dummy4 on March 20, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    I have two very contradictory questions?

    1. If Ed Joyce can return to the Ireland's fold and play for his country, what prevents Eion Morgan to do so? Ireland would be that much stronger. His country might easily welcome him as their Captain.

    2.How come Paul Stirling is still playing or Ireland, and the "procurement managers " of England haven't poached him yet? Is it the absence of Zimbawe's Andy Flower not working for England, for procuring good imports from SA, Ireland, Zim, NZ, et al? The young spinner Dockrell was reported to be in Andy's radar, during Andy's heydays.

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