West Indies versus Ireland match was almost dubbed as pre-quarterfinal match, although both teams have more matches left to play at group stage. With Dwayn Bravo out of the tournament, mercurial Gayle out of the match, and Ireland in good form, another upset was knocking the tournament. But, West Indies prevailed in the tough tie.
Considering West Indies as the weakest team in Group B, among the top four test playing nations of the group, and Ireland already upsetting the mighty English, the group stage match between both was considered a decider for a place in the quarterfinal.
Before the West Indies, they have already played 3 matches and impressed all. They lost against host nations, Bangladesh and India. But none of them decimated them. Against England, they had the best performance and created World record to chase the 327 runs English target and hit the English bowlers outside the park.
Ireland needed to win at least 2 of their last 3 matches to have a chance for quarterfinal. Now, they must win the remaining 2. After the loss against West Indies, they have to play South Africa and Netherlands. Upset against South Africa was unlikely. Against Netherlands, they are expected to win. That left the tie against West Indies, must win for them.
They started well. But, could not finish the match despite being in good position to do so. They restricted West Indies to 275 runs. In fact, bowled them out. Chasing the not-so-challenging target, and not-so-dangerous bowling of West Indies, compared to other Test teams in their group, the target was within reach.
Irish started with confidence. Stirling was sent to pavillion in 2nd over by Benn. Still Ed Joyce and NJ O’Brien developed good partnership. Later Williams, playing his first match of 2011 WC, continued the challenge. But, with increasing run rate and West Indies bowler bowling a better length and line, Irish batsmen were bundled out. Irish lost comfortably in the end with 44 runs margin.
KJ O’Brien played a delightful inning. Others needed to step in to win other matches. Against West Indies their effort was not enough. Now, against South Africa, they are pushed against the wall to win and that might result in a memorable team performance. Porterfield, Ed Joyce, WIlliams, Dockrell, Mooney and others have performed in different matches. Now, all of them should fire together to enter the next round.a
It will be unfortunate, if Ireland cannot create some more magic to at least qualify for the Quarterfinals. They are the only Associate teams who has given the glance of World cup standard more than once. They deserve to be in the knockout rounds.
All is still not lost. But, the South African wall stand in their way. If they can feel motivated by the fact that they have defeated the same English team, which has defeated South Africa, probably they can give the magical performance and with some luck on Net Run Rate should reach the quarterfinal, at the cost of one of the top three test playing nations of the group. India is already through the quarters, so that leaves their contest with other three nations, England, West Indies and South Africa.
With one more Brien-ish effort, they can upset South Africa and fulfill the dream run in a World Cup. The special effort requires team performance for that crucial match. Yet, can there be another KJ O’Brien-ish performance against South Africa!!
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