- Saiman Das
T20 World Cup 2022: Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie is confident of the team reaching the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2022, despite the washout game against Afghanistan on Friday (October 28).
In the first round of the showpiece tournament, the Irish team prevailed on two out of three occasions and made an entry to the Super 12. In their first clash, the Balbirnie-led side lost to Sri Lanka, after failing to defend their score of 128 runs.
However, the following fixture witnessed them winning against England by five runs. After they managed to post 157 on the board, the score line of the Three Lions read 105/5 in 14.3 overs, until the incessant rain.
As a result, Ireland secured a confidence-boosting victory by five runs and stake their claim for the final four spots. Unfortunately, the game against Afghanistan ended as a washout, and both sides shared one point each.
With a single win in three appearances, Ireland is in the third position in the points table and falls short of England’s net run-rate, who are placed second.
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Balbirnie reckoned that rain is not controllable by them, and it is a part of the game. On being asked about Ireland’s chances, the 31-year-old believes the team’s confidence has gone a touch higher after they beat England on Wednesday.
“We certainly believe we can,” Balbirnie said. “Our result on Wednesday backs that belief. We didn’t play our best cricket and we still managed to beat a team as good as England so that was positive.”
Ireland will now clash with Australia and New Zealand on October 31 and November 4 respectively, which have now become the must-win game for them to reach the semi-finals. The second lowest-ranked side in the shortest format will look to get results in their favour and create history.
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“We certainly have that belief in our group that we can beat them (Australia), we know we’ll have to be very good on the day. I know the group are pretty excited about that challenge.”
The key contributors in the batting department have been Paul Stirling and Balbirnie, while Joshua Little and Gareth Delany have done well with the ball. It will be interesting to see if Ireland could deliver a strong showing against both Trans-Tasman sides.
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