Matches (16)
IPL (1)
ENG v PAK (W) (1)
WI vs SA (2)
County DIV1 (5)
County DIV2 (4)
CE Cup (1)
USA vs BAN (1)
ENG v PAK (1)
News

Already proven we belong - Porterfield

Ireland's captain William Porterfield has been taking issue with the "accepted norms" of the cricket hierarchy for most of this World Cup, and found no reason to change tack on the eve of the match that will decide whether or not his team progress into th

Ireland's captain William Porterfield has been taking issue with the "accepted norms" of the cricket hierarchy for most of this World Cup, and found no reason to change tack on the eve of the match that will decide whether or not his team progress into the knockouts.
Porterfield's men are facing up to the fact that for all the efforts of Ireland and other Associates, defeat to Pakistan will mean the quarter-finals are populated exclusively by Full Member countries. Queried on that scenario ahead of the mooted shrinking of the tournament to 10 teams in 2019, Porterfield was blunt - the game's second tier had already done more than enough to merit their inclusion and the retention of a bigger tournament.
"I don't think it should matter," Porterfield said. "I think all teams in the competition have shown enough to justify a change in 2019 for the World Cup. I think, obviously, Afghanistan could have got across the line against Sri Lanka, especially when they got Jayawardene out. Obviously, Perera took the game away, he got 40 off 20 balls, but from the position they were in, they could have got across the line, which would have been great for them to get that win.
"We've shown enough regardless come tomorrow of where we're at and where the next qualifiers are at. I think UAE put in big performances as well. That first game against Zimbabwe, if they had that game again, they probably would have gone an extra 20, 30 runs, and I think they would have got across the line."
The crux of Porterfield's argument is that given the paucity of opportunities granted to Associates outside the Cup itself, they have done exceedingly well to push sides accustomed to far more comprehensive preparation. "I know you've heard me say it a lot over the last six weeks about fixtures," Porterfield said. "We've played nine against the top ten in the last four years, and I'm sure that's a lot more maybe than Afghanistan. I'm not sure how many they've played. But UAE and Scotland wouldn't have played that many.
"So accumulative among the four countries, we've probably played as many in four years as a lot of teams play in one year, if not less. So in terms of coming into this competition, I think the qualifiers have prepared themselves very well considering the preparation over the four years. I think to be able to do that with that little preparation is great. I think there is enough evidence throughout the games already to justify a change in the 2019 competition regardless of any outcome tomorrow."
Ireland's progress this tournament has been somewhat spotty, interspersing stirring victories over the West Indies, UAE and Zimbabwe with vast margins of defeat at the hands of South Africa and India. Porterfield took succour from the fact that his men have become accomplished at squeaking through to victories in tight situations - they will look to take the game deep against Misbah-ul-Haq's men and then rely on composure.
"I don't mind tight games as long as we come out the right side of them," Porterfield said. "I think it's been different lads that put their hands up, but at different stages. The first time against West Indies, the top order got us over the line. The next game against UAE we left our middle order a bit more work than we would have liked, but they got us over the line there. You can't buy that kind of experience out in the middle.
"So I think it's been a good mix throughout the group in terms of who has put their hands up at different stages and everyone throughout the team has done that, so that can only stand us in good stead going into tomorrow, regardless of which way around we do things.
"If we do qualify tomorrow it's going to do even more for Irish cricket and the support we've already had back home has been fantastic. If we can do that for the fans back home and for ourselves, justifying all the hard work we've been into it in the last six weeks, that's going to be great. Once you get to the quarter-final, who knows where from there. It's a straight knockout stage, and you're three games away from lifting the cup."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig