Ireland successfully qualify for Cricket World Cup 2011

It’s been another unpredictable day in South Africa in the Super Eights of the CWC 2001 qualifiers. Shock results have been the norm since the end of the first round – thankfully Ireland were not involved in an upset today and qualified for their 2nd Cricket World Cup Finals after beating The Netherlands in Pretoria. Will Porterfield won the toss and invited the Dutch to have a bat. Rankin and Connell made early inroads with the new ball and despite some dogged resistance from the middle order, tight bowling backed up by good work in the field again restricted Holland to 222 off their allocation. A solid opening stand of 60 gave Ireland a good platform on which to chase down the total and after the dismissal of Wilson, Morgan and Porterfield put on 117 for the 2nd wicket to see Ireland into the comfort zone. It was fitting that the younger O’Brien, Keith Kevin, should hit the winning boundary after a great tournament with the bat.

Ireland sit proudly at the top of the Super Eight table guaranteed World Cup Cricket again, a place in the final of this tournament (Ireland have never won a one-day tournament overseas) and ODI cricket with the financial rewards that that brings for at least the next 4 years. Ireland’s final round robin game is against Kenya on Friday followed by the final (probably against the Canadians) on Sunday.

Match Summary Netherlands 222 (50 ov) Kervezee 77; Cusack 3-26, Rankin 3-48 Ireland 226-4 (44.3 ov) Porterfield 78, Morgan 76 Ireland win by 6 wicketsIreland go back to the top of the table after Canada were comprehensively defeated by the UAE by five wickets – the UAE will gain ODI status if they beat the Scots on Friday and might just squeak a place at the World Cup yet. Scotland are having a miserable tournament: they got turned over by the boys from Kabul and are staring into the abyss of loss of ODI status – only a win on Friday will do. Afghanistan’s fairy tale has at least one more chapter in the telling after defeating the Saltires, if they beat the Namibians in their last game they will be playing ODI cricket. Likewise for Namibia who humiliated Kenya by 201 runs in Johannesburg – Kenya are probably safe.

So, all to play for on Friday – ICC money and the prospect of games against Australia, India, England et al… or back to the hot, dusty places with very long names and playing Jersey and China. The World Cup places are almost secondary to the financial crippling that may occur with the loss of ODI status in these harsh economic climes. As it is, the final places in the subcontinent (I wouldn’t like to say exactly where) in 2 years time may well be decided by net run-rate (don’t ask).