Ireland announce themselves on world stage
Jon Coates (Irish Daily Mail)
Niall O'Brien warned world cricket to stand by for another Irish invasion after a win over Bangladesh yesterday that, in his opinion, was no upset.
Ireland advanced to the World Twenty20 Super Eights after consigning the Tigers to their second defeat, by six wickets and with ten balls to spare, of the competition.
After closing Group D with a match against reigning champions India tomorrow they will stay in Nottingham to play New Zealand on Thursday, before further games in London on Sunday and Monday, with a place in the semi-finals now on the agenda for a squad who took the Caribbean by storm two years ago.
'It's Twenty20 cricket and we have already seen an upset [by the Netherlands] against England at Lord's, and we said at the last World Cup we are not just here to make up the numbers,' said O'Brien.
'We want to win as many games as we can.'
The wicket-keeper was named man-of-the-match after some great work behind the stumps and a quickfire innings of 40 which set up the Irish run chase.
To Niall's delight his younger brother Kevin finished the job as Bangladesh's total of 137 for eight was swallowed up. Trent Johnston was the hero of the bowling performance with three wickets for 20 runs.
'Today for us, it doesn't seem like an upset,' added O'Brien snr, whose half-century led the Irish to their groundbreaking win over Pakistan in Jamaica in 2007, which they followed up by defeating Bangladesh in the Super Eights.
'We were confident of winning and we believe we are a better side than Bangladesh – we have showed it again.
'We've got a belief in the squad that we've got a very talented bunch of players. We are here to win cricket matches and we got off to a great start today.
'It's the world champions but we are going to give it our best shot on Wednesday. There will be nothing left on the pitch, I can guarantee you that.'
Cricket Ireland will benefit from this result to the tune of E11,000 but more significant prize money resides in the Super Eights, where victories are worth E45,000. And Monday's match could be against the Netherlands.
Ireland captain William Porterfield admitted it was a frustration that Bangladesh, as a full member of the ICC, receive ten times the annual funding that is paid out to the leading associate members, allowing them to field a professional set-up while most Irish players rely on county contracts or outside careers to make a living.
Asked if Ireland could complete a south Asian treble by claiming the crown of India, Porterfield said: 'We will see on Wednesday what the outcome is. We are glad to be at this tournament because it gives us a chance to showcase what we can do.
'We believe we can come here and cause upsets and beat the big teams if we play to our potential.
'It's no secret coming into this tournament we haven't played a lot of Twenty20 but it's impressive how quickly the lads have learnt. Coming into today we were really confident of winning if we did the right things.'