Cricket World Cup 2011

We can beat SA - Ireland

2011-03-14 22:01
Albert van der Merwe (file)

Eduan Roos

Kolkata – A victory over South Africa on Tuesday will be one of the most famous days in the history of Irish sport – even greater than when they beat England earlier in this year’s World Cup.

That is the view of Albert van der Merwe, the 31-year-old Irish spinner and one of two South Africans in Ireland’s World Cup squad.

The Proteas take on Ireland at the iconic Eden Gardens after South Africa bloodied India’s nose on Saturday.

Ireland caused a huge upset earlier in the tournament by beating England by three wickets thanks to Kevin O’Brien’s inspired century.

“It was one of the greatest moments in Irish sporting history and did a huge amount for cricket in the country,” said Van der Merwe.

He was still captain of the North-West University about nine years ago.

“To beat the major teams is something every Irish player dreams of, but to beat South Africa will be even bigger than beating England.”

Notwithstanding their historic victory over the English, the Irish must win on Tuesday to have a chance of making the quarter-finals.

“For us this is like a World Cup final. We know it will be a huge surprise, but the match against England has equipped us with confidence and we really believe we can do it,” said the Capetonian.

Other than is the case with the rest of the so-called “small” teams at the tournament, only two of the players in Ireland’s squad are amateurs.

“The game has grown considerably since our success in the last World Cup (when they beat Pakistan) and the structures are finally in place to deliver good players,” he said.

“Many of the guys play county cricket in England and we have showed over the last few weeks that we are a team to be reckoned with.”

The other South African in the Irish ranks is André Botha, who is from Johannesburg.

“It will be emotional to hear the anthem, but I will do my best not to sing along,” said Van der Merwe.


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