CRICKET T20 WORLD CUP: Skipper confident ahead of Oman opener

Ireland skipper William Porterfield and Donemana's Andrew McBrine.
Ireland skipper William Porterfield and Donemana's Andrew McBrine.

Captain William Porterfield was in ebullient form ahead of Ireland’s latest appearance on the global stage.

The 31-year-old is playing in his fifth World Twenty20 tournament, and exuded calm confidence as he addressed the media ahead of their opening game against Oman in Dharamshala, India, tomorrow.

“We’ve played some pretty good cricket over the two warm up games so the lads are in a very confident place,” said Porterfield. There’s an excellent mood in the camp, with everyone fit and raring to go which is the main thing having 15 to choose from.

“Everyone is in contention, so we will pick sides depending on what we will come up against during the day. We will take the opposition and the type of pitch into the equation, but we’re selecting from a full 15. All the squad has contributed at some stage during the tour, so it’s good to have those kind of headaches.”

Ireland have been on the road alsmost non-stop for the last two months playing in Australia, The UAE and now India. The left-hander feels that will stand the squad in good stead for the challenge of getting out of the group stages and into the Super Ten phase.

“There’s no real substitute for time spent in the middle. We’ve also completed a pre-tournament training camp in Chandigarh, topped off by a week here in Dharamshala with two warm-up matches.

“We’ve gotten acclimatised to the area and the conditions, and saw first hand just how differently the pitches play during the day and under lights too, so that’s an advantage but Bangladesh and Oman have been playing a lot of competitive cricket in the Asia Cup so that will certainly help them.”

First up for the Irish are Oman, who have shown they will be no pushovers with some impressive displays in recent times. Porterfield emphasised they won’t be taking them lightly.

“They played some good cricket in the Asia Cup scoring a few runs, and they’ve beaten Scotland out here in the warm-ups so we’re certainly not under-estimating them. They’ll be in good spirits. We’ve done our homework on them watching a lot of footage and seeing how they go about things so we’ll be ready for them.

“We’re going to have to be at the top of our game tomorrow to put them under pressure and collect two points. We’ve done a lot of good things over the past while so we’ve just got to make sure we take that into the game and enjoy the whole occasion.”

Despite a few middle order wobbles in recent times, Porterfield is happy with the form of the team and feels everyone is in good touch going into the first game.

“I feel we are in a good place with bat and ball and we’ve just to enjoy it and play with positivity and freedom. I thought we batted well on a pitch which was slightly tacky against Zimbabwe at the weekend and our score was above par for the conditions.”

The Donemana man has been the stand-out batsman in the warm-up games but admits that will count for nothing in the main event.

“I feel in good touch myself, but runs in warm up games don’t count for much once the tournament starts proper. T20 is the type of game where you can have a lot of ups and downs so you’ve got to make sure you capitalise when you get a good start.”

The return of his Warwickshire team-mate Boyd Rankin has certainly given the whole Irish camp a lift, and he is certain to play a major role of Ireland are to secure qualification.

“It’s great to have Boyd back and he’s slotted right in as if he was never away. He brings an extra dimension to our attack with his pace and bounce and that’s a wonderful asset to have as a captain.”