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World T20: Porterfield backs himself to lead Irish challenge

Ireland and the West Indies meet in a Super 8 eliminator match on Monday afternoon in Colombo.

Image: ©INPHO/Barry Chambers

CAPTAIN WILLIAM PORTERFIELD SAYS he’s the right man to lead Ireland’s charge in their winner-take-all shootout against the West Indies.

Ireland’s World T20 tournament got off to the worst possible start when Porterfield was dismissed with the first ball of the match in a seven-wicket defeat against Australia.

It was suggested that Niall O’Brien might open the batting alongside Paul Stirling for Monday afternoon’s eliminator between the two winless sides in Group B, with the winner progressing to join the Aussies in the Super 8 round.

Despite his disappointment, Porterfield says he won’t be shirking his responsibilities.

“I’m going to lead from the front,” he said. “Things didn’t go my way last week, but I’ve enough confidence in my ability to keep playing my shots and being positive.

“I’ve built a good understanding with Paul over the past few years, and am happy for that to continue.”

Following less than ideal preparations, Ireland have been boosted by the news that coach Phil Simmons will be able to choose from a full-strength squad for their final group game at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium.

Six players as well as Simmons and physio Kieran O’Reilly were hit by a viral bug over the weekend. Stirling, Boyd Rankin, Gary Wilson, Stuart Thompson, Alex Cusack and George Dockrell were unable to train on Sunday but have all made a full recovery.

“Obviously our preparations have been disrupted but we’ve worked very hard in the three weeks we’ve been in Sri Lanka so it’s not too disconcerting. Everyone is just desperate to get out onto the park and rectify our poor showing last week against Australia. We’ve a chance to show people just what we’re capable of and you can be certain that nobody will leave anything out there on the field.

“West Indies will be massive favourites with world class players in Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard – two of the most destructive players in cricket, but the start will once again be critical. If we can get early wickets and put runs on the board then pressure can be a funny thing.”

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