Porterfield excited by World Twenty20 chance

Ireland captain William Porterfield is relishing the chance to pit his wits against the world’s best after qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20.

Ireland captain William Porterfield is relishing the chance to pit his wits against the world’s best after qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20.

Porterfield and his men had already secured their place at next year’s tournament in England despite their qualifying final against the Netherlands being abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Heavy rain at Stormont brought a premature end to proceedings with the two sides sharing the trophy although Ireland booked their spot in the finals courtesy of a four-wicket victory over Kenya in the semi-finals 24 hours earlier.

They will be joined by the Netherlands and Scotland who, despite losing to the Dutch in the other semi-final, sealed the third qualifying place with victory against the Kenyans in the third-placed play-off.

And Porterfield insists Ireland have the ability to cause a few surprises in England as they did in the Caribbean last March when they stunned Pakistan at the World Cup.

“It’s obviously not the way we would have liked to finish the tournament,” he said.

“But we came here to qualify and by reaching the final we did that.

“The chance to meet the top teams in the world and to play in England is a wonderful boost for Irish cricket.

“We feel we have a good chance to do well and we fancy ourselves against a couple of the teams.

“The English conditions will suit us and I feel we have done ourselves justice in this qualifying tournament.

“We came through every game and that’s what it is all about in the end. We came to Stormont to qualify and we have achieved that so that’s the first hurdle out of the way.”

Meanwhile, Dutch skipper Jeroen Smits insists his country’s qualification for the tournament will put an end to a ten-year itch.

The Netherlands failed to qualify for the World Cup held in England in 1999 and Smits is desperate for the Dutch to make their mark.

“It is a big moment for Dutch cricket that we will be in England next year after missing the World Cup in 1999,” he said.

“I am sure there will be a lot of people following us next year and cricket in our country will get a lot of attention.

“It’s disappointing we never got to play the final but we’ve qualified and that’s all that really matters.”

Earlier in the day, Canada registered a fifth placed finish courtesy of a eight-wicket victory over Bermuda.

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