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Ireland target Dutch delight

IRELAND'S hopes of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals might be over, but the memories of this campaign will live long and the squad enjoyed another momentous occasion yesterday as guests of honour at the Royal Calcutta races.

It wasn't quite Cheltenham, but the Ireland squad were given centre stage, and captain William Porterfield was asked to present a specially commissioned Ireland Trophy to the winner of the third race. "We think you'll like the trophy -- it's a whip -- it'll remind you of what you did to England," one of their Turf Club hosts joked at the presentation ceremony to winner Arbroath.

After a day off to lick their wounds following Tuesday night's loss to South Africa, the Green Machine will be back in training today to tune up for one last Group B match against the Netherlands at Eden Gardens.

Kevin O'Brien knows that it is important to end the tournament on a high against their fellow Associate nation tomorrow to underline that this Ireland team is head and shoulders above their peers.

"We can't qualify, but it's still a World Cup game and we want to finish in front of Holland and take the four points," O'Brien said.


"Holland are a good side -- Ryan ten Doeschate, Tom Cooper and Alex Kervezee are three very good batters and they've got some useful spinners and they are a good fielding side.

"It'll be the first time we have been favourites in the tournament, but no one in our team will be taking them for granted. We will be preparing for the game in the same way as we have prepared for the previous five.

"For us it's a massive game to show the (International Cricket Council) we are the best Associate. We aim to win convincingly -- bowl them out for a low total and really put our foot down and say we are No 1."

O'Brien was humbled yesterday morning to find that even youngsters who live in the middle of a huge rubbish dump in one of India's poorest cities all know who he is after his 50-ball century against England.


A group of Ireland players visited an Irish charity, the GOAL Project, which has built a school and community centre at the Howrah dump, a few miles from the team's hotel.

"It surprised me," O'Brien admitted. "They have electricity there and a TV but it's amazing that they knew who I was. It touched me that so many knew me in such an area."

Meanwhile, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin put on a commanding opening stand of 183 to lead Australia to a seven-wicket win over Canada yesterday, lifting the defending World Cup champions to the top of Group A with one league game left.

Australia's pace attack endured an early batting onslaught from fearless teenager Hiral Patel, who bludgeoned a dazzling 37-ball half century that helped Canada reach 50 faster than any team in the tournament.

But Brett Lee took 4-46 to lead the Australian recovery as Canada were bowled out for 211 in 45.4 overs. Watson (94) and Haddin (88) recorded Australia's best opening partnership at a World Cup as the defending champions reached their target in the 35th over, finishing 212-3.,

IRELAND v NETHERLANDS, Live, Sky Sports 1, tomorrow (4.0am)