John Bracewell: Ireland can still pull off T20 great escape

Ireland head coach John Bracewell says captain William Porterfield has inspired the squad to believe they can beat Bangladesh today and qualify for the Super 10 stage of the ICC World Twenty20.
John Bracewell: Ireland can still pull off T20 great escape

Ireland suffered a two-wicket defeat to Oman in their first group game Wednesday, a huge shock against a side representing a country that only installed its first proper turf wicket in 2007.

Oman’s victory in Dharamsala ranks as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition, but New Zealander Bracewell says the optimistic Porterfield lifted the spirit within the camp.

The Warwickshire batsman insisted after the match that Ireland could still qualify for the Super 10 stage — and fixtures against Pakistan, Australia, hosts India and New Zealand — by beating the Tigers today and the Netherlands on Sunday. “We were all devastated at the defeat, and the nature of the loss, but William put into perspective when he returned from the news conference,” Bracewell said.

“He came back in to speak to the rest of the side, and said: ‘This is not over, fellas. It just means we have to win against Bangladesh, and then see where we are. He showed great leadership, and it becomes easier from that point for the management to push the optimistic perspective rather that the pessimistic one.”

Ireland need to win their Group A games against Bangladesh and the Netherlands convincingly, and hope Oman slip up in one of their matches against the same opponents, but opening batsman Paul Stirling agrees with Bracewell and Porterfield’s assessment they can qualify.

“We have a chance to bounce back straight away, with no time to dwell on Oman,” he said.

“The lads have put in a good shift in practice and are ready for the game against Bangladesh. So hopefully we will prove ourselves.”

Middlesex batsman Stirling, who starred for Sylhet Royals in the Bangladesh Premier League in 2013, hopes experience of playing in Asian conditions will stand him in good stead.

“The tournament was brilliant, and I got to know many of the Bangladesh side, so I don’t think there will be too many surprises,” he said.

Ireland opening batsman Stirling impressed in the opening six overs against the Omanis, hitting six boundaries in a 22-ball 29 before he was out to a stunning, flying one-handed catch by Zeeshan Maqsood.

“I feel I am in pretty good nick, so hopefully I can continue with that and get a match-winning score rather than the starts that I have been getting,” he continued.

Bangladesh beat Ireland in the 2012 T20 series, but Ireland won the last ICC WorldT20 match between the pair in 2009, while the sides are evenly matched in the 50-over form of the game too.

Stirling said: “Whoever had home advantage in the past has usually taken the win, but hopefully we will go out there and get over the line.”

Here's a little extra sport. Watch the latest BallTalk for the best sports chat and analysis

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up