2010-10-13 18:11

Captain: Will Porterfield

Number of World Cup Participations: 1

ODI Ranking: N/A Associate with ODI status

Coach: Phil Simmons

Ireland's cricket team burst onto the World Cup scene in more spectacular fashion than they or the cricketing world may have believed possible, when in 2007 in the West Indies, they managed to tie with Zimbabwe in their first World Cup match (a century from Jeremy Bray helped that cause) and then, against all odds, beat Pakistan in their second (thus knocking the Asian giants out of the competition).

In their resulting Super 8 stage campaign, they lost their first four matches against England, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but then recorded a 74-run victory against the 9th ranked team in the world and Test playing nation Bangladesh. Their campaign ended in a loss to former champions Sri Lanka, but the Irish returned to a heroes welcome in Dublin – a result no-one could have predicted prior to the tournament.

The story of their success lies in the strengths of their key players, the O'Brien brothers, Eoin Morgan (who subsequently defected to England), captain Will Porterfield, bowler Boyd Rankin, ex-South African Andre Botha (who took an amazing one-handed catch in the 2007 World Cup victory against Pakistan) and former Australian Trent Johnston. They are now also coached by former West Indian all-rounder Phil Simmons, who has added his competitive edge to the team's ambitions.

Their ODI record is impressive, with 27 wins in 57 matches – a near 50% winning ratio, albeit against some of the weaker teams in world cricket. They will hope to relive some of the glory of their 2007 campaign when they take on the might of South Africa, India and England in Group B, and they will certainly be aiming to progress out of the group stages in their second consecutive World Cup.

Australia's Shane Watson is undone by Boyd Rankin. (AFP)


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