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Irish captain upbeat on WC chances

AFP
Feb 21, 2011 at 01:24pm IST

Dhaka: Ireland captain William Porterfield has warned rivals not to under-estimate his World Cup side, saying the minnows were capable of another giant-killing run.

The Irish, a non-Test outfit, stunned the cricketing world in the previous edition in 2007 in the Caribbean when they knocked out Pakistan in the first round and then scalped Bangladesh in the Super Eights.

Porterfield, speaking ahead of his team's first match against co-hosts Bangladesh in Dhaka on Friday, was confident Ireland will have another memorable tournament.

Irish captain upbeat on WC chances

Porterfield has warned rivals not to under-estimate his World Cup side.

"We have made massive strides in recent years," said the left-handed opener, who hones his skills with Gloucestershire in English county cricket.

"In the last World Cup we were pretty much unknown. People were struggling to relate Ireland with a cricket nation, but we have put Ireland on the cricket map now.

"We know if we can perform we can beat anyone. We have done that in the last couple of seasons. So we are pretty confident that whoever the opposition are, we are capable enough to beat them on our day.

"We will go out there and back ourselves on our abilities."

The captain said his team had adjusted to the unfamiliar conditions of the subcontinent in the warm-up matches, where they beat Zimbabwe by four wickets and went down fighting to New Zealand by 32 runs in a high-scoring match.

"The way we are playing right now, we'll be confident going into the match on Friday," Porterfield said.

"The conditions here might be different from what we are used to, but not necessarily a difficult one. We've had some good preparation.

"We played pretty well in the last couple of warm up games, picked up the momentum, and we will be feeling pretty confident."

Porterfield said his team had improved vastly from 2007 because most of the players had becom full-time cricketers over the past two years.

"It makes a massive difference to our cricket," he said.

The skipper has been the backbone of the Irish batting since his one-day debut in 2006, scoring 1,371 runs in 44 matches at an average of 33.43 with five centuries.

His second highest score of 108 came during a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in Belfast last year.

If Ireland are to progress to the quarter-finals, they must finish among the top four in Group B which includes India, England, South Africa, the West Indies, Bangladesh and the Netherlands.

Three wins from six matches would ensure a place in the last eight and Porterfield has already stated this was a realistic possibility.

"We are confident of at least progressing to the quarter-finals," he told Yahoo cricket. "We are improving every game. The squad is raring to go."

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