Monday, May 27, 2024

ICC: Ireland wary of threat posed by “absolutely devastating” Wiese

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Photo Credit: ICC

Only Ireland’s very best will do in their Group A showdown with Namibia if they are to progress in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, insists head coach Graham Ford.

Ireland’s bid to reach the Super 12 stage suffered a setback last time out as Sri Lanka romped to a 70-run win to ensure their safe passage with a game still to play.

That victory meant Ireland’s final match of the first round against Namibia is now decisive after the debutants defeated Netherlands on the same day to keep their hopes alive.

And South African-born Ford is well aware of challenge that awaits his team if they are off the pace in Sharjah, highlighting the danger of match-winner David Wiese in particular.

“We didn’t really get to see too much [of Namibia’s win over Netherlands] because we had a long bus journey while the game was on and then sort of caught the end,” said Ford.

“They did hit the ball extremely well at the end. But we know that they’ve got some very dangerous players, and David Wiese who put on a show, and we caught the end of that show. 

“He’s played for South Africa in the T20 World Cup before and I’ve seen him in South Africa and on the county circuit. He can be absolutely devastating, which he was.

“You know, they’ve got some dangerous players. They’ve got some very hardworking cricketers that quite a few of them have learnt quite a lot of their cricket in South Africa, as well.

“They pushed us close in the qualifying or the last game of the qualifiers. We know that they’re going to be tough. If we’re slightly off our best, we will struggle.”

Group A leaders Sri Lanka are the only side with two wins from two and, with Ireland facing Namibia in the final round of games, they are assured of a place in the Super 12s.

Sri Lanka also know that a win over Netherlands on Friday will see them top the table and join England, Australia, West Indies and South Africa in Group 1 as team A1.

That would leave Ireland and Namibia to face off in a mouth-watering match that will see the winners also qualify for the Super 12s as runners-up, going into Group 2 as team A2.

And when asked whether he would have taken Ireland needing to beat Namibia in their final group game to qualify before the tournament, Ford was emphatic in his answer.

“Of course,” he continued. “Obviously, you’re always greedy as a coach. You want to win everything and you want to have a nice easy last fixture and say, well, we’re already through.

“But realistically we’re still alive, we’re still in the competition, and that’s the important thing.”

Ireland came into the tournament ranked 12th in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I team rankings, with their best previous performance coming in 2009 when they reached the Super 8s.

And while Ford admitted his team are “desperate” to progress to the next round, he believes even if the result doesn’t go their way there will be positives to take from their tournament.

“I think for us we come to this tournament with a slightly different view to some of the big countries in that we are gaining and learning with every single outing,” he added.

“We’re trying to make as much progress in our cricket as possible. So every game is important as far as that’s concerned, to try and make the improvements.

“The little improvements here and there and become better at executing our skills. It was mentioned with the captain about the adapting to the extra pace and all of that.

“Win or lose, we are gaining and we are learning, so that’s a big plus for us. But quite obviously we’re desperate to go through to the next phase of the tournament, as well.”

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