Captain William Porterfield remains confident his Ireland team can cause another World Twenty20 upset – despite their eight-wicket defeat against champions India.
Porterfield’s men, up against New Zealand at Trent Bridge today in their first Super Eights match, were unable to post a competitive total in last night’s rain-shortened final Group A match at the same venue.
Zaheer Khan took four for 19 to help restrict Ireland to 112 for eight, and India passed their target with 10 balls to spare on the back of an unbeaten 52 from opener Rohit Sharma.
“With a bit of luck going our way and if we can play to our potential, we are capable of causing upsets,” said Porterfield, whose team had already qualified for the second stage on the back of a surprise win over Bangladesh in Nottingham on Monday.
Looking forward to today’s match against opponents who have major injury troubles, Porterfield added: “We will go out with a plan to win the game.”
Ireland themselves had to rest injured pair Niall O’Brien and Trent Johnston yesterday – but hope both will be fit to face the Kiwis.
“We want to get our Super Eights off to a winning start – and why not?” Porterfield asked.
“We are going out to win the game.
“We knew India was going to be a big step up from Bangladesh – but this is why we’re here. We want to play the best teams in the world and we aspire to get nearer and nearer to those teams.”
As for today’s opponents, Porterfield added: “Obviously it would be a boost to us if they struggle. But as long as we concentrate on ourselves and our own 15 are fit and available then that is best for us.”
Zaheer will go into India’s first Super Eights match tomorrow, against West Indies at Lord’s, with renewed confidence as he continues his return from the shoulder injury he suffered at the Indian Premier League.
He hopes to see off Windies captain Chris Gayle as quickly as he can.
“It will be good to take his wicket early. He is definitely a match-winner,” said the left-arm seamer.
“So if we can get him out early, it will be a big help.”
Zaheer’s own well-being is no longer in doubt, after a near month-long absence with injury.
“This was the second game for me, and it was important I picked up some wickets,” he said.
“At any level, wickets boost your confidence.”
West Indies rested Gayle’s knee injury during their 15-run defeat against Sri Lanka in yesterday’s afternoon match, but he will almost certainly be back to face India.
If Gayle returns in the match-winning batting form he showed against Australia last weekend, India could be in trouble.
Stand-in captain Denesh Ramdin said: “His presence in the team means all the guys’ confidence will be up against India.”