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Cricket World Cup Day 5: Outsiders ready to follow Ireland’s lead

| 16.02.2015

Minnows – the adjective, its concept, its prolonged existence in cricket – is a taboo term at this World Cup.

If that much wasn’t evident in the lead up to the tournament, then the Ireland captain Will Porterfield’s comments after his side beat the West Indies in their Pool B opener rammed it home.

“I don’t see it as an upset, “ he said. “We prepared to come into this game to win. We’re going to prepare to go into the UAE game to win. It’s where we’re at. We’re looking to pick up two points in every game, and as long as we’re doing the right things and building up to that, then we’re happy.”

This was the third successive World Cup in which the Irish had defeated a Test-playing nation, laying credence to Porterfield’s insistence that their victories should no longer result in jaws dropping to the floor.

For the remaining lesser-lights at the tournament, four of whom play against each other on the competition’s fifth day of action, the need to follow Ireland’s example is paramount to killing off all things minnow in cricket.

When the World Cup returns in four years time only 10 teams, rather than the 14 this year, will participate. The eight highest ranked sides in ODI cricket will automatically qualify, while the remainder fight it out in a tournament for the last two spots.

That gives added importance to Afghanistan’s clash with Bangladesh in Canberra and the United Arab Emirates’ game against Zimbabwe in Nelson.

Proof that the Associate sides can regularly overcome Test-playing nations is needed if the game is to shed its Full-Member/Associate divide as Porterfield wishes, and grows the game of cricket globally as a result.

Ladbrokes don’t see that proof coming too soon, with Bangladesh 2/9 and Zimbabwe 1/5 to win their respective encounters.

But don’t let those odds fool you. Afghanistan (10/3) beat the Tigers by 32 runs in the Asia Cup last year and won two of four ODIs with Zimbabwe back in July. The UAE (7/2) bested the Afghans 3-1 in a four-match series at the end of last year and have a World Cup win in their history books.

The battle of the Associates is only just beginning.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.