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Ireland geared up for World Cup tilt

By Ian Callender

Coach John Bracewell has settled on his final 12 for Ireland's World Twenty20 campaign but knows the other three members of the squad must be ready to contribute at any time over the next week.

Only the winners from Ireland's group, which includes Oman, Bangladesh and the Netherlands, will progress to the business end of the tournament when the top eight Test nations join the competition.

So, a six wickets defeat to Zimbabwe, with more than two overs to spare, in Dharamsala on Saturday was not the final match preparation anyone in the Ireland camp would have wanted, but Bracewell still has faith in the squad."We got to 150 (for the first time in eight T20 innings batting first) so I'm happy the batting is back on track, and but for three big overs in their innings, which went for 21, 19 and 17, we had Zimbabwe under par for the others. That was the difference," said the New Zealander.

"But our bench really needs to contribute if guys get ill or injured, so it was good Balbo (Andrew Balbirnie) was ready to play on Thursday when he scored 47 from 35 balls against Hong Kong. We are set on our 12 so I'm really pleased Stuart Thompson and Balbo are in form.

"It allows us to have one player out of form and that is Stuart Poynter, but this is T20 cricket and on any given day you can hit form."

Scores: Ireland 155-8 (20 overs, G Wilson 38, W Porterfield 31; T Chatara 2-33, T Mupariwa 2-36) Zimbabwe 160-4 (17.5 overs, H Mazakadza 68 not out, R Mutumbami 29). Zimbabwe won by 6 wickets.

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