February 21, 2011, 09:47 AM
Join Date: January 7, 2008
Location: New York
Ireland says it will beat Bangladesh, spoil the co-host's party
DHAKA, Bangladesh — Ireland will beat Bangladesh and spoil the World Cup party for the co-hosts, wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien predicted on Monday.
Ireland will be starting its Group B campaign in Friday's match, while Bangladesh will look for a much-needed a victory after losing to fellow co-host India in Saturday's tournament opener
Form suggests a tight match: Bangladesh is a test-playing nation, but sits just one rung above Ireland in the one-day international rankings. The Irish beat Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup, where they also defeated Pakistan and reached the Super Eight stage.
The Irish side, which has seven players with contracts in English county cricket, is not short of confidence.
"We have got a good enough team to win here Friday night, and that is what we are going to do," said O'Brien. "If that means spoiling the party, so be it."
Hosting the event for the first time means a lot to Bangladesh, a desperately poor country where few can afford much in the way of entertainment.
On the eve of the opening game, tens of thousands of people crammed the streets of Dhaka, singing and dancing.
O'Brien said it was a "shame" that the International Cricket Council is to limit the next World Cup to 10 nations, something that will make it much more difficult for ICC Associate nations like Kenya, Ireland, Netherlands and Canada to take part.
"We pride ourselves on being on the top of the so-called associates or minnows," said O'Brien, who hit 50s against England and Pakistan in 2007.
"If we can put in strong performances over the next few weeks and win matches against teams we ... should not beat, as we have done in the past, then that is only going to strengthen our case (to be included)."
As well as India, Group B also includes England, South Africa, West Indies and Netherlands.
With only four to qualify, competition for the final berth is likely to be intense.
"It is a must-win game for us," Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal told The Associated Press.
"If we can play to our potential, we can beat any side in the world, whether it is Ireland, England or the West Indies."
Iqbal top-scored with 70 in the match against India, but the runs did not come as quickly as the big-hitter would have liked.
"I can't come every day and hit everything," he said. "But just wait, you will see a quick-fire century from me before the end of the tournament."