Ireland qualify for World T20

2012-03-24 16:02
Ireland cricket team (File)

Dubai - Ireland will play in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka after hammering Namibia by nine wickets in the preliminary final of the qualifying tournament here on Saturday.

The Irish, who will join Afghanistan as the two sides to make it through as qualifiers, made short work of a Namibia side who failed to impress with the bat.

The west Africans made just 94-6 off their allotted 20 overs, Ian Opperman top scoring with 26 not out.

South African-born Max Sorensen took 2-8 and Australian-born Trent Johnson 2-19 as Ireland pinned back Namibia, who had beaten the Irish by four runs in group play.

Ireland saw captain William Porterfield dismissed for 20 in their innings but Paul Stirling took immediate control, hitting nine fours and a six in his 32-ball knock of 59 not out that saw his side reach 96-1 in just 10.1 overs.

"We have been clinical in the last couple of games," quoted Porterfield as saying. "It makes it a lot easier when Stirling is striking it at over 200.

"We had to come through the hard way through the group stage, stepped up during the big stages, thanks to all our supporters.

"We came here with a goal of winning this tournament. The qualification has been achieved. We have done it the hard way but it is yet another great day for Irish sport. We just want to keep it going."

Namibia captain Sarel Burger said: "They bowled outstandingly, and played well throughout. We lost a couple of early wickets and could not recover.

"It was the right decision to bat first. Unfortunately we did not end up scoring the runs we should have."

Burger added: "This tournament was a great experience and gave the guys an opportunity to do well.

"I think the sad part is we had the momentum very early on, unfortunately it started running out towards the end. It was a great learning curve for the younger players and even the senior players.

"We have got the ICC Intercontinental Cup to look forward to. We have played well enough to make people proud of our performances."

Afghanistan earned their ticket to the world Twenty20 on Thursday when they defeated Namibia in the first qualifying final.

The Afghans will play Ireland in the tournament final later Saturday.

The winners will join Australia and the West Indies in Group B in Sri Lanka, while the losing finalists will complete Group A, which also includes defending champions England and 2007 winners India.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat congratulated Ireland on their qualification - for the third time - at the ICC World Twenty20 event after having played in the 2009 and 2010 editions.

"Congratulations are in order and I know this means a lot to Cricket Ireland, the team and the nation for qualifying to play in the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012," said Lorgat.

"Having previously made headlines across the world with their astonishing triumph over England in the last ICC Cricket World Cup, I am sure that Ireland will expect to perform at even greater levels in Sri Lanka later this year.

"Namibia also deserves praise as they have performed extremely well throughout the tournament having won all seven of their group games. While they may be disappointed today, Namibia is a young team and has shown great strides in their performance level."

Read more on:    t20  |  cricket

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