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Two from two - where does yesterday's Cricket World Cup win leave Ireland in Pool B?

How many more wins do we need to reach the knock-out stages?

George Dockrell hit the winning runs in Brisbane yesterday.
George Dockrell hit the winning runs in Brisbane yesterday.
Image: PHOTOSPORT/Tertius Pickard/INPHO

IT MAY NOT have gone exactly according to the script, it rarely does when Ireland are involved, but all that matters is Phil Simmons’ side make the trip to Canberra this morning with a maximum four points in the bag and a solid foundation to build upon in Pool B.

But, where does the two-wicket win over UAE leave Ireland in what’s becoming an incredibly tight and competitive group?

It was widely expected the Boys in Green would require three wins to guarantee a berth in the quarter-finals but the results in the opening ten days of this tournament has muddied the waters somewhat with five out of the six teams in Pool B now harbouring realistic hopes of progressing.

What does it mean?

Unlike the opening win over West Indies, Wednesday’s victory was widely expected. Ireland have dominated the ‘Associate’ ranks for the past decade and have not lost to the UAE, in any format, since 2001 so this was a game earmarked as a must-win.

In the end, they did just that and that’s all that matters. Ireland now have four points, level with defending champions India and a rejuvenated, yet unpredictable, West Indies with the latter having played a game more than us.

It’s still too early to get tied down by the vagaries of net run-rate (cricket’s equivalent of goal difference) but this Pool could very well be decided by such small margins.

screenshot.1424904707.64750 Source: www.icc-cricket.com

As Niall O’Brien said the other day, if Ireland can win all six of their games such matters are irrelevant. But, the two-wicket win over UAE has kept Ireland on-course to achieve their target. Nothing less, nothing more.

What’s next?

Ireland were on the road again this morning as the squad left Brisbane for their two hour flight to Canberra where they face South Africa on Tuesday. Ireland aren’t expected to get anything from a fixture against one of cricket’s powerhouses and a side with realistic ambitions of going all the way in this tournament.

However, South Africa haven’t found their stride yet having stuttered past Zimbabwe in their opening match before being comfortably dispatched by defending champions India. They are one of the favourites to win the World Cup but are a side weighed down by the burden of an expectant nation.

Ireland’s remaining Pool B fixtures: (Irish time)

  • v South Africa — Tuesday, 3 March, 3.30am
  • v Zimbabwe — Saturday, 7 March, 3.30am
  • v India — Tuesday, 10 March, 1.00am
  • v Pakistan — Sunday, 15 March, 3.30am

Kevin O'Brien celebrates after getting the wicket of Swapnil Patil Ireland have done the legwork, now they must finish the job off Source: PHOTOSPORT/Tertius Pickard/INPHO

What are our chances of reaching the quarter-finals?

As much as Ireland head into Tuesday’s meeting with South Africa brimming with confidence and with a sniff of another famous win, it is unlikely it will be a defining game in the campaign.

Much like the India game on 10 March, it will be a ‘nothing to lose’ type situation for William Porterfield and his team mates.

But, the games against Zimbabwe, on 7 March, and the final fixture of the group stages against Pakistan on 15 March are the two matches that will determine the final standings in Pool B.

Just one more win may be enough for Phil Simmons’ side to progress to the last eight but that would leave them relying on other results to go their way.

Two more wins, regardless of where or how they come, would guarantee Ireland a berth in the knock-out stages for the second time in three tournaments. There you go, all very straightforward.

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Ryan Bailey

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