World Twenty20 debutants Oman stunned Ireland in the Group A opener yesterday, winning by two wickets with two balls to spare in Dharamsala as they chased down Ireland’s total of 154-5 in 20 overs.
Gary Wilson top scored for Ireland with 38 from 34 balls, after Paul Stirling (29) and Porterfield (29) had put on 48 for the first wicket.
155 from 20 overs seemed a challenging target for Oman, a country ranked 29th in the world just last year, but they made an aggressive start with openers Zeeshan Maqsood and Khawar Ali putting on 69 for the first wicket.
Ireland pegged them back in the middle overs, and a brilliant penultimate over from Boyd Rankin left Oman needing to hit 14 runs from the final six deliveries of the match.
But under-pressure Max Sorensen got it all wrong, bowling two no-balls that both went to the boundary to gift the lowest-ranked team in the tournament a shock win.
Porterfield believes Ireland can still progress to the second round if they record emphatic victories against Bangladesh tomorrow and the Netherlands on Sunday, and backed his players to bounce back from their opening-day embarrassment.
“It is is disappointing and hard to take, but to a large extent it is still in our hands,” he said.
“If we come back fresh and get it right on Friday, as long as Oman lose a game, the group will come down to net run rate if we win our two matches.”
Sorensen seemed to be struggling to grip the ball properly as dusk fell in the day-night match in the Himalayan hilltop city, but Porterfield insists that conditions were not to blame for Ireland’s struggles.
“I am not sure if the ball was slipping out, but if it was, you have got to let the umpire know so he can change it,” he said.
“It was dewy, but we knew that was going to be the case, and that was not an issue for us.”
Bangladesh are now favourites to win the group and secure the one Super Ten spot available following their eight-run victory over the Netherlands in their first match, but Porterfield says Ireland are well capable of causing an upset against the Asia Cup finalists.
“We have been in positions like this before. A lot of the team were involved when we lost the first game in a qualifying tournament and needed 10 wins in 11 days,” he said.
“We need to freshen up mentally, and have the confidence to execute our plans against Bangladesh.”