Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland face tough challenge against defending champions India
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Cricket World Cup 2015: Ireland face tough challenge against defending champions India

IRELAND face defending champions India on Tuesday in their penultimate Pool B game, as they aim progress to the World Cup quarter-finals.

The Boys in Green head into the tough fixture on the back of a thrilling win over Zimbabwe on Saturday in Hobart, where Ed Joyce scored his third ODI century and Andrew Balbirnie was just three runs shy of a maiden 100.

Ireland will need to a win from tomorrow’s game or their final group match against Pakistan – who lie one spot above them in the table on net run rate - on Sunday, to ensure progression to the knock-out stage.

"We have a quicker turnaround for this game than for our previous ones but our goal is still what it always was," said Ireland captain William Porterfield.

"Whether we are in action with the bat or the ball, we have to start the game well in the first 10 overs.”

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If Ireland make it out of the group, it would be the second time in three World Cups that they would have done so. In the tournament so far, they have beaten Test nations West Indies and Zimbabwe.

While India has already qualified for the quarter-finals and could rest some of their key players at Seddon Park, Hamilton, Porterfield insists that Ireland will not be relying on this.

"No, I don't think their guard will ever be down," he said. "Whatever they decide to do is out of our control. Whoever they decide to play, it doesn't really bother me.

"We've just got to keep all the momentum going and keep on improving at the little things we want to and keep taking things forward."

"Every game there's the same amount of points up for grabs, and the India game is no different," argued Porterfield.

"We've got to go into that looking to take two points and follow from there. That is out next challenge and it's one we are looking forward to."

It was expected that three wins would be enough to secure Ireland a top four place and lead them out of the group, but the fourth spot could now be decided on net run rate.

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Unless the UAE pull off an impressive performance against West Indies, the final qualification place could be decided in this way, and because Ireland’s net run rate ranks behind Pakistan following their heavy defeat by South Africa, it could ultimately prove the deciding factor in Ireland's World Cup journey.