Ireland Women’s cricket team captain Laura Delany believes her squad was buoyed by the victory in the warm-up match against Sri Lanka on Wednesday night, however minds are firmly fixed on Sunday’s first ICC World T20 group stage match against Australia.
“The win against Sri Lanka could not have come at a better time for us. To finish our warm up games with such a convincing win against the team ranked 7th in the world - three spots ahead of us - has instilled a lot of confidence in the group.
“We performed with both the bat and bowl which has been one of our biggest challenges so far.
“As a group we have never beaten Sri Lanka, so this in itself is a huge accomplishment for the team. It was a team performance in which everyone contributed, however Clare Shillington really stood out with the bat.”
“We now head into our group games, neither group has any easy game.
“We hope to take the confidence from our last warm-up game into our first match against Australia, however we know come Sunday that we have to reset and work just as hard as we did last Wednesday.
“We have our final training session tomorrow, and whilst the team are in great spirits, we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves as we have some very tough games ahead.
“We have our own targets set for each game and all I can ask is that every player plays with the freedom and confidence previously displayed.”
Aaron Hamilton, National Women’s Head Coach and Performance Pathway Manager, provided an insight into the planning for the tournament:
“For the squad, the preparation and planning has stopped, and now our focus is fully on Australia.
“While the management team have assessed, and developed strategies for each Group Stage opponent.”
“The two warm-up games gave us great opportunities to acclimatise in match conditions – and the Sri Lanka result showed we are beginning to bring together all elements of our game. Now it is all about executing those team and individual plans.”
“T20 cricket is a funny game. To the onlooker it seems short and sharp, not as tactical as longer forms of the game. But this can’t be further from the truth. All that changes from longer forms of the game is that the decision-making is accelerated and you have to be ready to adapt quickly.”
“And when it comes to big tournaments against big teams, it is all about not being overwhelmed by the occasion and focussing on executing our processes.”
“We’re not naïve about the scale of the challenge ahead, but we have to go into these games with the self-belief they we belong here on the world stage and play to the best of our abilities.”
The ICC World T20 tournament schedule - Ireland
11 November: Australia v Ireland, Guyana (20:00 GMT)
13 November: Pakistan v Ireland, Guyana (20:00 GMT)
15 November: India v Ireland, Guyana (20:00 GMT)
17 November: New Zealand v Ireland, Guyana (20:00 GMT)
22 November: First semi-final, Antigua (20:00 GMT)
22 November: Second semi-final, Antigua (d/n) (00:00 GMT, 23 Nov)
24 November: Final, Antigua (d/n) (00:00 GMT, 25 Nov)