Ireland looking to seal Super10s spot with victory over Netherlands
Paul Stirling faces late fitness test on elbow injury ahead of game
Ireland’s Paul Stirling with physio Andrew Dunne and captain William Porterfield after picking up an injury against UAE. Photograph: Barry Chambers/Inpho
Ireland are hopeful that key all-rounder Paul Stirling will pass a late fitness test on an elbow injury ahead of their final first-round game against the Netherlands in Sylhet today.
A victory will guarantee a place in the Super 10s stage of the World Twenty20 and at least four more games against Test-playing nations in Chittagong, although they can also suffer a defeat by a small margin and still go through.
The equations will become clearer after Zimbabwe play their final game against the UAE ahead of the Ireland game, but one equation that looks likely to fall in their favour is the chances of Stirling lining up against the Dutch, a side he scored a century against in the 50-over World Cup in 2011.
Although the official line was 50-50, Ireland physio Andrew Dunne believes the fact that both an X-Ray and CT scan showed up only soft tissue damage after Stirling was struck on the right elbow in the victory over the UAE gives the Middlesex player every chance of taking the field today.
“It’s just the nature of the impact, and the site of the injury, can be quite painful for Paul and for any player who gets a hit on that site,” said Dunne. “ So at the moment he’s just doing the standardised kind of recovery procedure, just resting it, icing it. We have it strapped and we just have to wait and see how he pulls out of it in the morning.”
With hosts Bangladesh stumbling into the Super 10s stage with a defeat to Hong Kong in Chittagong yesterday, Ireland have the chance to be the only side to make the second stage of the competition with an unbeaten record and Kevin O’Brien believes that relying on run rate calculations is not the way to approach the match against the Netherlands. “I suppose if you look at the table, that could get us through, but you know, we want to look at winning the last group game, and topping the group with three wins,” said O’Brien.
“So it is an advantage playing second, I suppose, but you know we’ve just got to go out with the positive attitude we’ve had in the last two games, and look to get the victory.”
The Dutch have been boosted by the the controversial late call-up of South Australia state player Tom Cooper in place of Tim Gruijters, who later claimed on YouTube that he was forced to take a medical and leave the side to make room for the 27-year-old.
Cooper, whose younger brother Ben is also in the squad, has yet to be out in the two games he has played, with unbeaten knocks of 34 in the win over the UAE and 72 not out in the last-ball defeat to Zimbabwe.
O’Brien knows that with the Sylhet wicket proving a belter to date, that containment may be the key against a strong Dutch batting line-up. “It is a very, very good batting line-up, and with Tom Cooper in the side, you know he looks in excellent form,” said O’Brien.