Ireland ought to play more often against the bigger teams because they've won their respect given how they've performed in this World Cup, coach Phil Simmons has said. Ireland failed to qualify for the quarter-finals, but beat England and challenged Bangladesh, India and West Indies in the run-up to their final game of the tournament, against Netherlands on Friday in Kolkata.
"We need to play more games against big guys because they all have respect for us now," Simmons said. "We can play against big guys. We now no longer play to compete only, but to win. I think the biggest improvement is that we come looking to win the game (against bigger sides) and planning how to win the game."
The disappointing feature of Ireland's performance, Simmons said, was the fact that they didn't finish off matches despite pushing some of the top teams close. Though they overcame England in a thrilling finish, they lost narrowly to Bangladesh in Mirpur and faltered in what was shaping up to be a fighting chase against West Indies. More experience of playing against the bigger teams was the key to improvement, according to Simmons.
"It's disappointing that we put ourselves in a position to win, but could not follow up. I think it shows that we need more games at this level to get us ready against big guys." Simmons admitted his team still had a long way to go to achieve Test status, but deserved to compete more often in the limited-overs formats. "We have been asking the ICC that we need more games. We are nowhere near Tests, but we sure can play one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches."
Ireland captain William Porterfield said the team's batsmen need to step up. "In some of the games we put ourselves into winning positions. It would have been wonderful if we had a couple of wins under our belts," he said. "We need to improve on a couple of areas in our batting. We have lost wickets in clusters in some of the matches, something we can't afford to do against big teams."
Porterfield's Netherlands counterpart, Peter Borren, said the game was significant as his team is yet to register a win in the competition. "Motivation is not difficult for us because we obviously have not had a win and hope to end on a high note," he said. "Ireland has done well in the tournament and has been competitive, but if we go out there and win tomorrow, we will be making a statement."