Women's World T20

Ireland's women make their World T20 debut today -- and they've got the blueprint for a few big shocks

Trent Johnston’s side are gunning for an upset when they face New Zealand in Sylhet this morning.

Isobel Joyce, Elena Tice, Kate McKenna, Cecelia Joyce and Lucy O'Reilly Isobel Joyce, Elena Tice, Kate McKenna, Cecelia Joyce and Lucy O'Reilly: ready for Ireland's World Cup debut. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

TRENT JOHNSTON KNOWS that if it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it.

As a player the big Aussie was a towering presence in an Ireland side that routinely punched above its weight.

Now he wants to use that experience to send even more shockwaves through world cricket, this time as the head coach of Ireland’s women.

The Girls in Green make their World T20 debut against New Zealand later this morning having been left to fly the flag alone following the men’s disappointing exit.

They are underdogs to emerge from a tough group that also includes reigning champions Australia, South Africa and Pakistan.

But Johnston is setting a high bar for a group which he feels has a lot in common with the men who pulled off Ireland’s first big giantkilling under Adrian Birrell, upsetting Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup.

“It’s exactly like what we’re witnessing here with the girls,” he said ahead of the game in Sylhet.

I’ve tried to base our preparations around what Aidy did with us back then. That formula was pretty good.

“The girls are of a similar ability to what the guys were back then. They’re very good, they listen to everything, their commitment is great, and you can ask nothing more as a coach.”

Elena Tice Elena Tice: 16-year-old set to be one of Ireland's key players Barry Chambers / INPHO Barry Chambers / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland lost their warm-up games against Sri Lanka and India but Johnston has been encouraged by the hunger they have shown since he took over with assistant Mark Lane.

“They probably needed a bit of direction and a bit of clarity in their roles. We’ve tried to give that, myself and Mark.

The girls have hit the ground running, they’re looking for information and they’re almost like sponges. If you can feed them that information they’ll soak it up and then try and implement it into their game.

It’s exciting times for them going into their first T20 World Cup.

New Zealand are already up and running after nicking a narrow win against Australia in their opening game on Sunday but Ireland will have no fear against any of their opponents.

“You’ve got to play those guys at some stage,” Johnston said. “We watched the game [on Sunday] and there certainly wasn’t anything there to scare you.

“They were pretty basic. They bowled it pretty straight and off-stump and it was quite difficult to score.”

He added: “Twenty20 cricket is quite funny. We know that we need to get into the game or stay in the game in the first six overs whether we’re batting or bowling.

“It will be imperative that we do that and if that’s the case, we’ll give ourselves a good opportunity to win games.”

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