Ireland's cricketers are "desperate to go through" to the Super 12 phase of the World T20 as they prepare for Friday's make-or-break clash with Namibia in Sharjah.
Reaching the second round of the World Cup will guarantee the Irish five more matches against the top teams and, perhaps more importantly, secure qualification for the next edition of the tournament in Australia next year.
After a thumping win over rivals Netherlands in their opening match, the boys in green came crashing back down to earth on Wednesday, falling to a 70-run defeat against Sri Lanka.
Ireland last met Namibia in the qualifying tournament for this World Cup. While the Irish won that day by 27 runs, both nations had already booked their tickets to the main event at that stage. Friday's clash couldn't be more different, with the winner progressing - and the loser going home.
“They have hard-working players, a lot of them have learned their cricket in South Africa as well, and they pushed us close in the qualifying tournament – we know that they are going to be tough, and if we are slightly off our best then we may struggle,” said Ireland head coach Graham Ford.
“I think for us, we come to the tournament with a slightly different view to some of the bigger countries, in that we are gaining and learning with every single outing - trying to make as much progress in our cricket as possible. So, every game is important as far as that is concerned – to try and make those little improvements here and there, and to sharpen our skills, and adapt to the extra pace in the pitches.
"Win or lose, we are gaining and we are learning, so that’s a big plus for us – but quite obviously we are desperate to go through to the next phase of the tournament as well. Despite the loss [against Sri Lanka] we are still alive and still in the competition, and that’s the important thing.”