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'Fearless cricket' will decide Zimbabwe tie – Joyce


IRELAND batsman Ed Joyce believes his side must play without fear if they are to progress to the Super 10 stage of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

Ireland begin the three-match qualification phase against Zimbabwe in Sylhet today knowing anything but victory could spell the end of their hopes.

With little room for error, in a group that also contains Holland and United Arab Emirates, Joyce thinks an attacking mindset will be decisive against Zimbabwe.

"They are a good side. I think it is whoever turns up on the day and plays the more fearless cricket (that will win)," he said. "It looks like it is going to be a good deck here – and hopefully that will suit us a bit more.

"Whoever gets off to a good start, gets a flyer, could win."

Initial reports have suggested the wicket at the newly-built Sylhet Stadium may offer more assistance to the quick bowlers than normal on the sub-continent. Ireland should not be hampered by any uncertainty over conditions at the selection table, with their squad balanced by spin and medium-paced options in their top-order.

Opener Paul Stirling provides slow-bowling cover, while, if there is a bit of pace in the wicket, Kevin O'Brien's right-armers should be more effective.

"It's a new pitch, but it's not your stereotypical sub-continental pitch," captain William Porterfield said. "There might be a bit more pace and carry in it than you might be used to.

"We'll see how it plays out. We haven't played here so obviously we don't really know. We'll have to assess conditions quickly.

"We've got three bowlers in the top six or seven batters which makes a big difference to any team. We normally go in with four or five seamers and at least two spinners in a general team. We've got plenty of options with the ball and our batting goes down there, so we've got a few issues ahead of selection, but they are good issues to have."

Ireland will take mixed form into their opener after losing two of their three warm-up matches since arriving in Bangladesh. Defeats by the tournament hosts and Hong Kong sandwiched a five-wicket win over Nepal. Ireland will, however, take confidence from drawing their two-match series against defending World Twenty20 champions West Indies in the Caribbean last month.