Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Simmons to know score for Ireland cricketers

Ireland will have a better idea of the size of their task in Africa next month when one of their two remaining rivals for a place in the Inter-Continental Cup final go into action today.

Namibia go into their penultimate game, away to Bermuda, second in the table, 14 points behind leaders Kenya and 10 ahead of Ireland.

Victory and a first innings lead in Hamilton would give Namibia the maximum 20 points and force Ireland, who play the Namibians and Kenya in successive weeks, to win at least one game and draw the other with a first innings lead.

As Bermuda are currently bottom of the table, with only one win and two first innings leads from their first six matches, Namibia are hot favourites to win this week.

National Coach Phil Simmons, however, has already said he is happy that his side's destiny remains in their own hands.

The dates for Ireland's games next month have been confirmed. They will play Namibia in Windhoek from October 3-6 and then play Kenya in Nairobi, the final match of the qualifying stages, from October 11-14.

Simmons is currently checking the availability of his squad, although he also has to monitor the fitness of Kevin O'Brien and Andrew White, both of whom missed Ireland's last game of the summer, the ODI against Kenya last week.

O'Brien had a back scan last Thursday and is likely to play only as a batsman, with the possibility of bowling in the ODI series in Kenya which immediately follows the I-C Cup game in Nairobi while White has a broken finger and sees a specialist again next week. He has put off a possible operation to ensure he is also available for selection.

Andre Botha, Ireland's leading all-rounder, gave everyone a scare when he had to leave the Leinster Senior Cup final in an ambulance on Saturday after feeling faint, with chest pains, when batting.

At the hospital he was given the all clear and he returned to resume his innings.

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