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Can giant-killers Ireland upset Team India?

Last updated on: March 4, 2011 12:36 IST

Ireland have set their sights on a quarter-final berth

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Ireland know that they cannot bask too long in the glory of having pulled off the most successful run chase in World Cup history if they are to replicate their performance of four years ago.

After posting a shock three-wicket win over England on Wednesday, Ireland have lived up to their reputation as giant-killers after having memorably beaten Pakistan in the Caribbean in 2007 to move into the second round.

That dream did not last long as they won only one of the next seven matches and crashed out having entertained one and all, but failing to make a lasting statement in the World Cup.

This time around they have set their sights on a quarter-final berth but while their spectacular performance would have made the other countries sit up and take notice, the reality is that they have only one win in two games.


Image: Ireland players celebrate after winning their match against England
Photographs: Getty Images
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Ireland need to be consistent

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They face much sterner tests in their group in the form of India, South Africa, the West Indies and fellow associates, Netherlands, and only if they make winning a habit can they harbour hopes of going through to the quarter-finals.

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While their performance also gives credence to their application for qualification as a test-playing nation, the Irish know that the sport's governing body will be looking for proof of consistency.

"We have played a great game today but it is just winning one game, though," captain William Porterfield said.

"We have still got four games left. We are hoping to repeat such performances and stay in the race for the quarter-finals."


Image: Ireland's John Mooney (left) celebrates with teammates after claiming the wicket of Jonathan Trott on Wednesday
Photographs: Reuters
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Irish team boasts of all-rounders

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Ireland will be aware that their win over England was Kevin O'Brien's almost one-man show in a once-in-a-lifetime performance rather than a team effort.

Individual brilliance can only take a team so far and if Ireland are to pose a serious challenge to the other test-playing nations, they will need their entire team to fire on all cylinders.

In the final analysis, the statistics will show that their bowling conceded 327 runs and that most of the wickets they claimed came about as the English batsmen went in pursuit of quick runs.

However, even if they are not wicket-takers, every Irish bowler knows that they are backed in the field by a unit that chases down every ball and goes after every catch with the tenacity of a pit-bull.

Ireland's 15-man squad boast an arsenal of all-rounders who are as adept with a bat as they are with a ball giving them an enviable depth in their batting.

Image: Kevin O'brien celebrates with Nail O'brien after winning his match against England
Photographs: Getty Images
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'If we play to our potential we can give India a run for their money'

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Indeed, while their top order made small contributions, it was the batting prowess of their No. 6, 7 and 8 batsmen towards the end that saw them over the line against England.

Their top order has failed to fire in the two matches so far and with one more match to go (against India) in the batting paradise that is the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Ireland will hope their top order come to the party.

"If we play to our potential and play the way we can, there's no reason we can't give them a good run for their money," Porterfield said.

Ireland's biggest statement this time will be if they can shed the `giant-killer' tag by showing that their performance on Sunday was the rule rather than the exception.


Image: Kevin O'Brien celebrates after reaching his century against England on Wednesday
Photographs: Getty Images
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