Ireland set for Eden project

Proteas have fitness doubts over both de Villiers and Tahir

Last updated: 14th March 2011  

Ireland set for Eden project

Porterfield: reprimanded by ICC

Not many people are giving us much of a chance for a game against one of the pre-tournament favourites

William Porterfield
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Ireland know only a win will do when they take on Group B heavyweights South Africa at the historic Eden Gardens on Tuesday.

William Porterfield's side currently have two points to their name in the group after registering a famous victory over England in Bangalore.

However since that stunning success they have been beaten by both India and West Indies, meaning they now face a do-or-die situation in their bid to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

Their final round-robin fixture will see them start as strong favourites against fellow associate nation Holland, who so far have lost five from five.


But before that contest they must first cause another almighty upset against the Proteas on Tuesday, with skipper Porterfield hoping his side can be inspired by playing in the second biggest cricket arena in the world.

"When you come to India you always hear about Eden Gardens, a bit like when you are in England and people talk about Lord's," he said.

"There's a lot of history here and, of course, it's a massive place. The lads are looking forward to getting out there and to have both of our last two games there is something pretty special."

As for the match itself, the Warwickshire batsman added: "We don't have anything to lose.

"Not many people are giving us much of a chance for a game against one of the pre-tournament favourites.

"They've just beaten India and they've had a good tournament so far, but if we play with the freedom and the attacking intent that we have done in every game, who knows?"

Porterfield, who been reprimanded by the International Cricket Council after publicly criticising umpire Asoka de Silva's handling of a video review during the defeat against West Indies, will hope to have two key players available.

Experienced all-rounder Andre Botha has been laid low with a sickness bug but is desperate to face the country of his birth.

It is also hoped former skipper Trent Johnston can overcome a knee injury to lead the attack having missed the last outing due to the problem.

"If Trent is fit then he plays," Porterfield added. "He's one of your first picks.

"He's a very big player for us. He trained with us here and as long as he has no reaction I think he'll be fine."

Morale-boosting win

South Africa go into the game knowing that they still have work to do if they are to reach the last eight of the competition.

They did, however, record a morale-boosting win over co-hosts India on Saturday, thanks to Robin Peterson belting 13 off the final over of the match.

Coach Corrie van Zyl insists they will not be taking Ireland lightly, although they could be without key duo AB de Villiers and Imran Tahir through injury.

In-form batsman de Villiers is struggling with a thigh problem suffered in the triumph over India while leg spinner Tahir is nursing a fractured left thumb.

"We are fully aware of what Ireland have done. It's important to prepare not just from a tactical but from a mental point of view," said van Zyl.

"Ireland are tough opponents. It's not just their fielding but how they are playing in the tournament. They have really played well."

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