IRELAND are well-placed to progress to the Super 10 stage of the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh as they head into their final Group B fixture, after sealing victory against the UAE on Wednesday.
The team head into Friday’s match against the Netherlands on top of their group, with two wins from two games.
“Confidence levels are high, we beat UAE fairly easily,” Irish wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien told The Irish Post after the team’s training session this afternoon
“We played well but not to our best. There’s still a bit to come, still a bit left in the tank. There’s a few areas we need to improve on, I think our fielding has been a bit sloppy at times but the boys are batting well.”
Ireland claimed victory yesterday against the UAE by 21 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method, with two floodlight failures and rain ending the game.
UAE recorded 123-6 before Ireland opener Paul Stirling retired hurt after being struck on the elbow after facing just five balls.
The Irish scored 95-0, but went on to lose three wickets in quick succession.
Ireland still appeared to be on course to claim the victory on 103-3, before was play stopped due to the rain and poor lighting.
The game ended with Ireland needing 21 runs from 34 balls.
Captain William Porterfield performed well posting a score of 33 runs, not out, and Ireland’s top scorer Ed Joyce claimed 43 runs from 38 balls.
UAE began their innings well, scoring 31-0 from three overs before the wickets fell, with Stirling and Kevin O'Brien taking two wickets each.
Ireland suffered a scare when Middlesex batsman Stirling was hit by a delivery from Asadullah Shareef in the second ball of the Irish innings, but scans have revealed tissue damage and no break.
“He’s got bone bruising and swelling on the elbow, but there’s no break or fracture. With a few painkillers and support he’ll be ok,” O’Brien said of Stirling’s injury and likelihood of playing tomorrow.
Victory against the Netherlands on Friday will mean that Ireland reach the Super 10 stage of the World Twenty20 and will face cricket’s major teams.
Of Ireland’s challenge against the Netherlands tomorrow, O’Brien added: “They’re a dangerous team, they’ve been playing some good cricket, they’ve got some good players on good form.
“You can’t underestimate them, we’ve just got to keep playing well.”
“It’s easy to get distracted and look forward but we’ve got to focus on Friday and get through that.”