Éireann go Bràch!
at this World Cup have so taken one of two options:
- Capitulate miserably, for (near-)record margins. See Bermuda, Scotland, and the Netherlands.
- Fight hard and show more nous and spirit than some would expect, giving themselves a real chance of progressing. See Kenya, Bangladesh, and, most thrillingly, Ireland.
Listening to Ireland beat Pakistan
was nerve-wracking beyond belief, and I'm not Irish or Pakistani. Ireland needed one an over, with the field up, and still they didn't score many. But Pakistan gave them crucial runs in extras, which is absolutely unforgivable. There's no doubt that Shoaib and Asif
would have ripped Ireland to shreds, had they been drug-free. Their target was almost exactly the same as England's win at Trent Bridge
, and this again featured an heroic partnership for the eight wicket, even if it was less than 21.
Ignoring more ties, Ireland can only fail to go through if Zimbabwe don't lose their remaining two matches. Pakistan can only go through if Zimbabwe and Ireland beat West Indies, and they beat Zimbabwe. West Indies should go through as group winners, with Ireland second.
It's been a bad day for other 'foreign' sports in Ireland. The rugby team were very unfortunate to finish second in the Six Nations, and their ex-captain, now a manager, slated the recent football squad selection. Cricket isn't even Ireland's fourth sport. By participation, it falls behind hurling, Gaelic football, rugby union, football, and maybe even hockey. I'm lost for words to describe the scale of this achievement.
By contrast, Bangladesh beating India seems also a normal result. Assuming that the subcontinental teams in that group all thump Bermuda, it could well come down to the games against each other - and possibly even run-rate. One thing's almost certain, though: Asia and Europe will both lose two of their four participants after the group stages, with the other two progressing.
Labels: 2007 world cup, ireland, minnows, pakistan, upset, world cup