Belfast Telegraph

Ireland bidding to take advantage of below par display from Zimbabwe


By Ian Callender

There was one happy West Indian in Harare yesterday after the tournament favourites lost their first match at the World Cup qualifying tournament.

Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons, just as he had done at the finals three years ago with Ireland, had plotted West Indies' downfall and kept alive their hopes of reaching England next year with their first win.

But Scotland's 74-run victory over UAE in yesterday's other match in Bulawayo, which moved them to the top of the table, has turned the Windies' remaining games into 'must wins', and that is good news for Ireland as they go into their Super Six opener against Zimbabwe today.

If West Indies were to lose one match at this stage - and they deserved nothing more than a defeat after a disinterested performance in all three disciplines - this was the game that Ireland could afford them to lose.

As long as they defeat Zimbabwe and Scotland in their remaining games, Ireland can still qualify by beating the same opposition over the next three days.

An unbeaten Zimbabwe side will have the support of a huge crowd today but Ireland coach Graham Ford is convinced his side can claim the two points.

"We have three tough matches to play but, as much as the opposition is decent, we know if we play to our potential we can win all three."

Gary Wilson flew back yesterday after the birth of his son but is not expected to feature today.

Belfast Telegraph

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