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Cricket World Cup: Australia to meet Ireland in the last eight

By Ian Callender

The Ireland players now know that if they reach the quarter-final of the World Cup they will almost certainly play co-hosts Australia in Adelaide next Friday.

Victory for South Africa in yesterday's game against UAE confirmed second place in Group B for the Proteas, leaving the winners of Sunday's final group game, between Ireland and Pakistan, to take third place and a last eight clash against the three-times world champions.

Australia must still get one point from their final game against Scotland in Hobart on Saturday but it would be the shock of this or any other World Cup if they failed to do that, although Ireland can still reach the quarter-finals if they fail to beat Pakistan, but only if the West Indies do not beat UAE - and again that is another remote possibility that eventuality would leave Ireland playing Group A winners New Zealand in Wellington in the final knock-out game next Saturday.

The squad were given the day off yesterday after arriving in Adelaide late on Wednesday following a 10-hour journey from New Zealand, but there was a full practice session at the impressive Adelaide Oval today, with only one selection poser ahead of Sunday's winner-take-all game.

Stuart Thompson has given coach Phil Simmons and captain William Porterfield the "nicest possible headache" after taking the only two India wickets in Tuesday's defeat but he will be under pressure to retain his place ahead of Andy McBrine, Ireland's most consistent bowler in the tournament.

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