Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Ireland relishing World Cup opener

William Porterfield

Ireland captain William Porterfield accepts his side go into their World Cup opener as underdogs, but has warned Bangladesh it will be no walkover.

Ireland have been preparing for their tournament opener in Mirpur for several weeks, having decamped to Dubai for some warm-weather training and practice matches prior to the official warm-ups. Co-hosts Bangladesh have the advantage of playing on home soil, and despite being the lesser lights among Test-playing nations are fancied to defeat the Irish.

"Yes, they will be favourites and it will be us as the underdogs but that happens," the Warwickshire batsman said. "A lot of people still see Bangladesh as favourites but we've been looking forward to getting stuck into this tournament for a while and we're ready for tomorrow (Friday)."

He added: "We've prepared pretty well, for the last couple of years actually, and especially over the last few months with the work we've put in.

"It will be slightly different in these conditions, with Bangladesh at home, with the home crowd. It's a completely different occasion but playing in front of a full house brings a pressure of its own."

Porterfield has pinpointed electric opener Tamim Iqbal and captain Shakib Al Hasan as the Tigers' danger men, a point accentuated by their half-centuries in the curtain-raiser against India.

Bangladesh lost that game by 87 runs after Virender Sehwag's stunning 175, but in making 283 in reply they showed the ability to post big totals.

"Tamim at the top of the order is a dangerous player, he's a big wicket for any team," Porterfield said.

"He is someone you want to get early and if you do it that puts some pressure on them because he can take the game away from anybody. Then there's Shakib who bats through the middle and he can be dangerous too.

"The big wickets will be important for us."