THE IRISH CRICKET team has consolidated its place amongst the 20-20 elite with a comprehensive, nine-wicket victory over Namibia at Dubai Emirates Cricket Stadium in the UAE.
The victory, fitting revenge a narrow defeat suffered at the hands of the African side earlier in the qualification process, guarantees Phil Simmons’s men a place at September’s ICC World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka.
It took captain William Porterfield and Paul Sterling a mere two overs to charge within 70 runs of a game-winning total, but the foundations for Irish victory were laid with displays of incisive bowling from Trent Johnson, Boyd Rankin and Max Sorensen in the earlier innnings.
The trio proved instrumental in limiting a clearly frustrated Namibian line-up to a modest total of 94. Sorensen in particular dominated during his four-over spell at the crease, conceding just eight runs and claiming two wickets.
He credited his success to diligent planning.
“We stuck to our gameplan and bowled with great intensity and then the batters came on and did their job. I came in with a mindset to hit the right areas, spoke to the skipper about it too. He was clear what he wanted to do, I did just that. This wicket had a lot more pace in it than the one we played yesterday, but it was still flat.”
Though Ireland are assured of a place at the World Cup, a final qualifying fixture with Afghanistan is required to determine seeding for the tournament.
A loss to the Afghans would guarantee Ireland group stage encounters with England and India, while victory would see them face both Australia and the West Indies.