Cricket on The Brink of World Cup

Ireland stands one game, or one heavy day of rain, away from a place in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

It would be a remarkable achievement for a team that travelled in hope rather than expectation after the number of teams playing in England next year was reduced to ten.

It took an unlikely three-run win for the United Arab Emirates over Zimbabwe yesterday to turn around the qualification dream but where there is hope…

From 07:30 this morning the team take on old rivals Afghanistan, managed by former Ireland boss Phil Simmons in a winner takes all clash to see who will make it to the biggest stage of one day cricket.

This is the tournament which has defined the growth of the sport here. From beating Pakistan to beating England it has turned Ireland from plucky outsider to a full test nation. It has inspired thousands of young kids to try the sport and to Cricket Ireland now exploring the opportunity to build a new National Stadium.

It has turned cricket mainstream in the words of Cricket Ireland’s campaign to do just that.

And yet when the number of teams was cut, and when we lost to the West Indies it looked as if the present would have to live in the shadow of the past, and hopefully the future.

We have played sixteen times against Afghanistan, winning nine. We have every chance of winning today, though we are still outsiders.

If the rain was to come we would still go through on account of having a better run rate than Afghanistan and Zimbabwe with whom we would be level on points.

There would be an irony in that given our climate but if we walk out at Lords or Old Trafford in 2019 we will not mind how we made it, just that we did.

You can follow the live scoring here. Come on Ireland.

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