Ireland show who are 'top of the tree'

Ed Joyce defends the ball ICC

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."