Porterfield lines up 'big hurdle' to cross

William Porterfield works the ball into the leg side Associated Press

Ireland may have passed their biggest test in the first round in the form of Full Member Zimbabwe, but captain William Porterfield feels another "big hurdle" lies in wait when they face their next opponents, UAE.

Ireland have beaten UAE all four times they have played them in the shortest format, but in one of those meetings, during the World T20 Qualifier in Abu Dhabi last November, the hosts fell short by just five runs.

Porterfield pointed to that game as proof of why Ireland could not rest on the fact that they had downed Zimbabwe.

"It is a great start for us," Porterfield said. "Obviously there are three games in the group and we know how dangerous UAE can be, especially in subcontinent conditions. We have played two games against them in the qualifiers and they were very good games. That is our next test; that is a big hurdle."

While UAE faced Netherlands under lights in their opener, Ireland met Zimbabwe in an afternoon start. Even in the latter match, the ball swung for Zimbabwe as the lights took effect and Porterfield said that was something Ireland would have to take into account, along with keeping an eye on how conditions shaped up in the UAE-Netherlands match.

"We have got a night game next so this is going to be crucial for us. The Zimbabwe match was the first game in the stadium, the next game will be under lights on Wednesday. It did change coming into the 14th-15th over when the lights started to take effect. That is something we will have to monitor. The ball started to do a bit and something we have to factor in."

UAE have claimed the subcontinent suits them more than other sides in their group and they have also had a feel of the way the Sylhet surface behaved in the night against Netherlands.

But they will have to put in a much better fielding and bowling effort than the one on display on Monday, when they put down at least four catches and repeatedly bowled short despite not having much pace in their arsenal. Khurram Khan, their captain, said that while fielding was a concern, UAE were capable of putting up a better show.

"It is not that you have lost everything and you don't know how to field," Khurram said. "Yes, we dropped too many catches and it just happened. You have to go and think what you have done wrong and improve. But we are not as bad it looks. We are a better team and hopefully we will perform better in the next game."

Khurram said there was no point in being daunted by Ireland's reputation as it was the last opportunity for UAE to stay in contention for making it to the Super 10. "I don't think you can come all the way here and then start thinking they are the better team. They are playing well and yes, they are a good team, they have been playing very good cricket but in the end it is a do-or-die effort for us. You have to give it everything you have. So it is going to be a good game and we will try our best."