Friday, 11 February 2011

Luck of the Irish could carry them through

The Irish haven't been handed an easy group this year as they look to repeat their heroics from 2007. Four years ago Ireland sprung the shock of the tournament by reaching the Super Eights stage, after a famous St Patrick's Day victory over a stunned Pakistan side. This year the Irish will have to compete with England, South Africa, India and the West Indies who are all expected to reach the next stage. There is also the threat of the vastly improved Bangladesh, who will also have the backing of their home fans and the latest cricket betting indicates they could take full advantage.

There is a different look about this squad from the party from four years ago, with Jeremy Bray and Dave Langford-Smith retiring from international cricket and Eoin Morgan switching allegiances to England. There has been exciting additions to the squad though, with young players Paul Sterling and George Dockrell making names for themselves and the return of Ed Joyce in the green colours of the Irish.
While there was a big amateur influence in previous Irish teams, this one has 13 of the 15 players playing professionally and skipper William Porterfield feels that will help his squad to reach the Super Eights stage.

"We have been able to improve our games by playing day in, day out. The professional set-up is where we've really moved on. I think we have a great chance of getting out of our group. We'll be pretty well prepared come our first match group match (against Bangladesh) on 25 February," he said.

It would still be classed as a major achievement if Porterfield could lead through the group stage and it is likely Ireland will need to rely on poor performances from their rivals rather than their own ability.

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