Shaken by Sri Lanka loss, Ireland wary of Wiese threat in game vs Namibia

Ireland’s devastating 70-run loss at the hands of former T20 World champions Sri Lanka has shaken their confidence, and going into their last First Round Group A game in the ICC T20 World Cup against Namibia here is giving their head coach Graham Ford the jitters — especially the threat posed by all-rounder David Wiese.

Both Ireland and Namibia have two points and a win for either of the teams in the crucial Group A game later on Friday, will automatically take it to the ‘Super 12s’. Former T20 World champions Sri Lanka have already qualified for the ‘Super 12s’.

South African-born Ford is well aware of the challenge that awaits his team if they are off the pace in Sharjah, highlighting the danger of match-winner David Wiese in particular.

“We didn’t really get to see too much (of Namibia’s win over Netherlands) because we had a long bus journey while the game was on and then sort of caught the end,” said Ford. “They did hit the ball extremely well at the end. But we know that they’ve got some very dangerous players, and David Wiese who put on a show, and we caught the end of that show,” said Ford.

Wiese has played for South Africa and also has had a long stint with County side Sussex, which gives him the pedigree, and the pace he can derive from even lifeless pitches makes him a match-winner.

“He’s played for South Africa in the T20 World Cup before and I’ve seen him in South Africa and on the county circuit. He can be absolutely devastating, which he was. You know, they’ve got some dangerous players. They’ve got some very hardworking cricketers that quite a few of them have learnt quite a lot of their cricket in South Africa, as well.

“They pushed us close in the qualifying or the last game of the qualifiers. We know that they’re going to be tough. If we’re slightly off our best, we will struggle,” added Ford.

Ireland came into the tournament ranked 12th in the ICC Men’s T20I team rankings, with their best previous performance coming in 2009 when they reached the Super 8s. And while Ford admitted his team are “desperate” to progress to the next round, he believes even if the result doesn’t go their way there will be positives to take from their tournament.

“I think for us we come to this tournament with a slightly different view to some of the big countries in that we are gaining and learning with every single outing,” he added.

“We’re trying to make as much progress in our cricket as possible. So every game is important as far as that’s concerned, to try and make the improvements. The little improvements here and there and become better at executing our skills. It was mentioned with the captain about the adapting to the extra pace and all of that.

“Win or lose, we are gaining and we are learning, so that’s a big plus for us. But quite obviously we’re desperate to go through to the next phase of the tournament, as well,” added Ford.