Though Ireland have an extremely slim chance of qualifying for the semi-finals of Men’s T20 World Cup, their left-arm pacer Josh Little is fully confident of his side eager to go out on the field with the hope for a victory when they face New Zealand at Adelaide Oval on Friday.
Ireland had earlier stunned the West Indies in their final first round match in Hobart to qualify for the Super 12s. Then, in a major surprise, they got the better of a much-fancied England in a rain-hit fixture at Melbourne. Ireland can claim to make a hat-trick of upset victories if they edge past Kane Williamson & Co.
“I think if you just look at the tournament so far, you’ve seen upsets nearly every day or every second day, if you can even call them upsets anymore. Everyone is pretty competitive. It’s a World Cup. Anything can happen. We’re going out there fully confident hoping to get a win tomorrow,” said Little in the pre-match press conference.
Little was also pleased by Ireland completing a near-fightback against Australia at The Gabba, though they ended up on the losing side. Ireland had slipped to 25/5 in pursuit of chasing 180 against Australia, but wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker’s unbeaten 71 off 48 balls made for a heartwarming performance in cutting the winning margin of the hosts’ and defending champions.
“We actually spoke about it. If you look back at couple of years ago, if you saw an issue side 25 for 5, you would think, well, that game is done. You turn off the TV. We were saying we’ve come so far to actually get to where we got to and see Lorcan got that 70 out of 40 or whatever it was and show the Aussie boys that a couple of our boys are right up there. To do that was very pleasing and sets the boys in good stead for what’s to come,” he added.
Little has been among Ireland’s reliable in-form players in the tournament so far, picking eight wickets in six matches at an average of 20.87 and economy rate of 7.26. “I don’t think I’ll ever be fully happy. I’ve had a couple of games where things didn’t really go my way.”
“Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with where I’m at the moment. I do think, obviously, there’s always room for improvement, as we look at the Sri Lanka game and a couple of other games. Overall, I’m enjoying it,” he stated.
Little signed off by saying Ireland will be fully prepared to stem the run-flow of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who has been getting criticism for his slow batting in the tournament. “He is a world class batter and probably always will be. We’ll have a look tonight and do some homework and try to come up with a plan that hopefully no one has ever seen before.”