Ireland’s cricketers eyeing World Cup knockout stage

Ireland’s cricketers eyeing World Cup knockout stage

IRELAND cricketer Niall O’Brien says the team are looking to reach the knockout stage of next year’s World Cup.

The 11th edition of the tournament takes place from February 14 to March 29 in Australia and New Zealand.

Ireland are in Pool B alongside South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe and UAE but O’Brien is confident the team can advance to the latter stages.

“From a team point of view, we want to get out of the group and through to the knockout stages,” he told The Irish Post.

“We really believe we can do that. We have a good team behind the scenes, good support back home and the board fully support us.”

To achieve their goal, Ireland will have to defeat one of the Test-playing nations in their pool.

That is something O’Brien and co. are comfortable with, having beaten Pakistan in 2007 and England in 2011.

“Sometimes on the day, things don’t go right for them (Test-playing sides). We need to make sure we’re on our game.

“The margin between the sides is so small now compared to 2007 and 2011. If we beat one of the Test teams, yes it will be a surprise but it won’t be as big a shock for the general public as a victory over Pakistan or England in the past.”

Ireland start their campaign with a match against West Indies on February 16. All matches are live on Sky Sports.