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Porterfield calling on batsmen to make mark

Ian Callender

It has hardly been the most eye-catching preparation but Ireland captain William Porterfield insists it will be all right on the night.

Porterfield met the media in Dhaka yesterday, exactly a week before Ireland's first match in the World Twenty20, leading a batting line-up still searching for consistent form and bowlers with much to improve on.

Defeat to Worcesterhire in Dubai was a blow but the worrying loss was the following day to amateurs Hong Kong, a team they had hammered at the qualifying tournament in UAE less than four months ago.

"We must learn from the Hong Kong game," Porterfield admitted. "The results in Dubai weren't ideal but we didn't bat well as a unit. It's fair to say we haven't batted well this year (including the tour of the West Indies) but we are all hitting the ball well in the nets. We just need to create that net atmosphere in the middle and we will be putting in a lot of hard work in the next week before the Zimbabwe game.

"The encouraging thing is that the longer we are away from home, the better we play so it is all building up to March 17 and the lads will be ready."

Ireland must finish top of a four-team first round group, also including UAE and the Netherlands, to qualify for the Super 10 stage when Ireland's opponents would be Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and England and Porterfield believes that the first round will help Ireland – assuming they qualify.

"The two teams that go through (the winners of each group) will have the advantage of competitive cricket in the same conditions. So while we probably will have to win three games, the qualifiers will have the momentum going into the next phase so that could be an advantage," said Porterfield.

But to make the Super 10s, Ireland will have to hit the ground running so they will be looking to get back on the winning trail in their two official warm-up games, against Nepal tomorrow and Bangladesh on Friday.

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