World Cup: Ireland won’t be intimidated by South Africa, says captain


CANBERRA: Ireland captain William Porterfield is confident his team will not be overawed by the mighty South Africans in Canberra on Tuesday, saying they had made good plans to contain AB de Villiers’ side.

The Proteas, who have won all their three one-dayers against the Irish so far, are overwhelming favourites to win the Pool B encounter at the Manuka Oval that will bring them closer to the quarter-finals.

Ireland’s hopes will rest largely on how they keep the rival batsmen quiet, especially de Villiers, who smashed an audacious 162 off 66 balls against the West Indies in Sydney last week.

Porterfield admitted it will be a challenge to bowl to the South African captain and other batsmen like Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis, but added the task to contain them was not impossible.

“You can sit all day and talk about him and different theories and plans and whatever, but you’ve got to stick with your best ball and how you go about things,” he said.

“The bowlers have got to back themselves and back the field that’s been set. We have individual plans for each of their batters, and hopefully we’ll see the back of them early.”

Ireland have won both matches so far in the tournament, chasing down the West Indies’ 304-7 with four wickets and 25 balls to spare before edging past the United Arab Emirates in a final-over thriller.

If other results go their way, even one win from their four remaining games against South Africa, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe could see Ireland qualify for the quarter-finals.

Porterfield said his team will take the confidence of those two wins into Tuesday’s game.

“South Africa are a great side and we have to be on the money again,” he said. “We’re taking each game as it comes and it’s not going to be any different for tomorrow’s game.

“It’s about going through the same processes and being in the same mindset and getting yourself prepared for the start of ball one tomorrow.”

Porterfield said he was not surprised by the support the associate nations like his have got after the International Cricket Council announced tentative plans to reduce the next World Cup from 14 to 10 teams.

“I think it was always going to be a talking point coming into this tournament,” the captain said. “You’ve got to grow the game and I don’t see why it (the World Cup) has to be cut down.

“We are improving, every nation out here is improving. We’ve just got to go out there and play well to make a statement.”

South African all-rounder Farhaan Behardien said his team rated Ireland highly and looked forward to Tuesday’s clash.

“Look, every game is a big game and Ireland are not ones to be taken lightly,” he said. “We have done a good analysis on them…like we do for every other team.”

South Africa have won two of their three games so far and former captain Graeme Smith hoped the bench strength will be tested against both Ireland and UAE.

“I don’t foresee either Ireland or the UAE causing too many problems,” Smith wrote on the tournament website. “I am certain the entire squad will be given an opportunity to play over these two games also allowing for key players to rest.” (AFP)