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Andy Balbirnie eyes ‘huge prize’ with ‘Super 12’ spot on the line for Ireland

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Ireland's Josh Little shakes hands with Sri Lanka's Kusal Perera after their match during the week. Photo: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Ireland's Josh Little shakes hands with Sri Lanka's Kusal Perera after their match during the week. Photo: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Ireland's Josh Little shakes hands with Sri Lanka's Kusal Perera after their match during the week. Photo: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Andy Balbirnie will not be underestimating the threat of Namibia in today’s make-or-break showdown in qualifying Group A of the T20 World Cup, even though Ireland are strong favourites to win and progress to the next stage.

After beating the Netherlands by seven wickets and then suffering a disappointing loss to Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, Ireland find themselves in Sharjah for the game that will decide who goes through to the ‘Super 12’ and who goes home early.

Ireland have beaten Namibia five times over the shortest distance since losing the first T20 between the teams in 2012 but with former Sussex all-rounder David Wiese added to their ranks the south-west Africans are not to be taken lightly.

“We know Namibia are a good team and they ran us pretty close in the qualifiers a couple of years ago,” skipper Balbirnie said.

“It’s going to be a really good game with two competitive teams gunning for a huge prize at the end of it.”

Sri Lanka are through to the Super 12 and barring a freak result against the Dutch today they will top the group, leaving Ireland and Namibia scrapping to see who joins India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Scotland in the next round.

Scotland booked their place with a third straight win in Group B, beating Oman by eight wickets in Muscat to top the table ahead of Bangladesh, as Kyle Coetzer returned to form with a hard-hitting 41 to help his side past the hosts’ 122 with three overs to spare.

Namibia v Ireland, live, Sky Sports, 11.0am

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