|World Cricket League Division 1: Netherlands, July 2010|
Johnston insists more to come from Ireland
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Trent Johnston, Ireland’s captain at the World Cricket League, insists the team have still to reach their peak.
The day after their seven wickets win over Kenya and 24 hours before their grudge match against Afghanistan, Johnston said there was more to come from a squad which has won back to back games in Holland in impressive fashion.
“It’s great preparation for the Afghanistan match,” said Johnston. “Two good wins and the boys just below their peak. It will be crucial if we win the toss because I think we are playing on the same wicket and it was starting to turn late on today. “
Albert van der Merwe was surprisingly overlooked for yesterday’s opener against Kenya but the captain agrees he will come under serious consideration for a starting place tomorrow.
“Yes, that will be a difficult call,” Johnston agreed. “He bowled particularly well between overs 30 and 40 against Canada (on Tuesday) and he was unlucky not to make the line-up yesterday. We went with Jonesey (Nigel Jones) as he gave me another option of medium pace bowling and we still had three spinners (George Dockrell, Paul Stirling and Andrew White) if the toss didn’t go our way.
“But it’s a nice headache to have. If we put in the same type of performance we have a great chance of beating Afghanistan.
“They have the edge over us (winning four of the five games between the teams) but we will go out and give it all. I’ll hope to get 220-230 out there batting first and defend it like hell.”
Looking back at the Kenya game, Johnston admitted it wasn't the perfect performance. "If I was going to be highly critical I thought our fielding in the circle wasn’t up to standard. They got too many singles and we missed a couple of run outs and we didn’t take the intensity we had in the warm-up into the game. That's something we will have to discuss at the team meeting.
"Having said that I thought we bowled very well, George (Dockrell) bowled better as he went along which is a good sign for us and everybody I called on did a job for us. "When he batted, we got through the new ball, but James Hall snicked off just as the boys were getting set to put a big score on. Alex (Cusack) struggled early but the pleasing thing for me what he got through that and did what he has been doing for us for a couple of years.
"The first thing I said when I was told I was going to be captain was to tell Simmo I wanted Cusack at No 3. If he can come away from a Twenty20 qualifier as man of the series there is no reason why he can’t do it in the 50 overs game and 59 not out on that wicket was a good performance."
Phil Eaglestone was forced to pull out of Thursday's game after injuring his side, minutes before the toss, and the Strabane bowler’s fitness will be assessed tomorrow morning, although with the pace bowling attack so impressive - they took eight of the wickets - he could be unlucky again.