Thursday 17 January 2019

Ford determined to drive Ireland forward

Ireland manager Graham Forde. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland manager Graham Forde. Photo: Sportsfile

Gerard Hughes

Graham Ford has his eyes on a victory over Papua New Guinea today at the Harare Sports Club that will give Ireland one foot in the Super Six stage of the World Cup qualifiers and he is determined to keep the team focused after a dream start against the Netherlands.

The big strides being made by all countries below Test level was demonstrated again on Sunday when Scotland upset fancied Afghanistan and Ford will have been told that PNG beat the Boys in Green when the two sides last met in a T20 two years ago.

"We warn against complacency and from what I'm starting to understand of the lads, there will be none," the new coach said.

"You only have to look at the Scotland result, Every side has dangerous players and every game can go the unexpected way.

"There's no way we can drop our guard and we have to be as ruthless as we possibly can. In a competition like this from a tactical and strategic point of view, we have to play the best XI for the conditions and what exposes the opposition best."

After beating the dangerous Dutch by 93 runs, it would be easy for Ireland to be looking ahead to Saturday's key match against the West Indies - a game that is now likely to decide which of the two contestants finishes top of Group A.

"If we go into the big game against the West Indies with two wins then we will be in a reasonable position," Ford said.

Ireland's final game is against the United Arab Emirates with the top three sides qualifying for the Super Sixes and carrying forward wins against their fellow qualifiers.

Meanwhile, former Ireland coach Phil Simmons will be desperate for his new team Afghanistan to bounce back and beat hosts Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.

A second defeat would leave the Afghans with a mountain to climb to claim one of the two berths left at the finals which sare schuedled to take place in England next year.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport