Ireland's game against England tonight is a straight shoot-out for a place in the World Twenty20 Super Eights after West Indies beat Paul Collingwood‘s side to confirm their passage to the next stage.
It was the result that Ireland wanted, as they no longer have to rely on run-rate and their progress out of Group D is back in their own hands.
But to run England close, never mind beat them, will need a major improvement by Ireland, a fact acknowledged yesterday by National Coach Phil Simmons (pictured) who described their opening match drubbing by West Indies as an all-time low.
“This is the worst we’ve been (in my three years in charge),” said Simmons. “We have done well in all the major competitions before then, but this was the first time we have let ourselves down on the field of play. You can’t go into it too much but if we pick ourselves up against England we will know it was just a one-off.”
And Simmons promised a return to basics tonight, as they look for only their third win in 13 games on this tour.
“We tried to put ourselves in a position where we were scoring a couple more boundaries to put us on a par with the senior teams. We had it worked out when we left the qualifiers (in Dubai in February) but now everybody wants to be a hero. We have to get back to where we where.”
England’s impressive start to the tournament with the bat was not the sight the Ireland squad wanted to see. Their fears that former team-mate Eoin Morgan will be England’s main player were justified with a sparkling innings of 55 from 30 balls but he also received hard-hitting support from the new opening pair of Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb while Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright also impressed.