Simmons rues early struggles

Ireland coach Phil Simmons has admitted the loss of early wickets has cost his side dearly as they bid to improve their fortunes in the World Twenty20.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons has admitted the loss of early wickets has cost his side dearly as they bid to improve their fortunes in the World Twenty20.

Simmons saw Ireland lose their Super Eights clash with New Zealand by 83 runs at Trent Bridge yesterday and then defended his tactics.

He left out Boyd Rankin and Andrew White as Paul Stirling remained on the sidelines.

The coach said: “I need Boyd to get wickets up front. If he doesn’t do that, then I need to give somebody else a chance.

“Peter Connell was given an opportunity, but he didn’t bowl well. That first over set the tone for a poor bowling display.”

Simmons will decide on the line-up for the remaining Super Eights clashes with Sri Lanka and Pakistan after talking to captain William Porterfield.

He said: “Paul Stirling is still only 18, and has a big future in the game. I’ll be meeting with the captain, and Kyle (McCallan) over the next few days and discuss what we reckon will be the best line-up to give us the best chance against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“Andrew White batted exceptionally well against India the other night, and was unlucky to miss out yesterday. It may well be the case he’ll be recalled, but we’ll see.

“The key to matches in this format of the game is early wickets. We keep losing too many early on, while not picking up enough.

“I was happy with the rate we were scoring at (against New Zealand), but not happy with the wickets that we lost. We can score 170 if we have wickets in hand and pace ourselves properly.

“Against the big teams, you’ve got to take early wickets or you’re in trouble. You saw how South Africa did that last night in their comfortable win over England.”

Simmons revealed there was good news on the fitness of wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien after a scan showed only bruising to his ankle.

The coach also predicted his side could cause another shock like the win over Bangladesh which put them through to the Super Eights stage.

He said: “It’s not going to be easy, but as we’ve shown in the past, we are a capable team and capable of producing another shock.

“Teams don’t under-estimate us now, so we’ve lost the surprise factor, which made the win over Bangladesh all the more satisfying.

“There’s an expectation now, and we weren’t surprised at all by our win, although people outside of cricket may have been.

“Our spirits are high, and we’ll stick together as a team. It’s a learning experience for us, and we’ll become a better team as a result of our participation in this ICC World Twenty20.”

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