Nagpur, Feb 11 (PTI) Last edition''s semifinalist NewZealand and surprise package Ireland will square off for aday-night warm-up game ahead of the World Cup at VCA''s Jamthastadium here tomorrow.
Though the match does not have official status, it givesIreland a chance to settle scores with the Kiwis, who hadthrashed them by a huge margin of 129 runs when they met in aSuper Eights match of the quadrennial event in the Caribbeanfour years ago.New Zealand have not done well in the recent past havingbeen whitewashed 0-5 each by India and Bangladesh in thesub-continent recently. A win will surely boost the morale ofthe Kiwis ahead of the mega event.
On the other hand, Ireland, who shocked Pakistan in WestIndies in the league stage and qualified for Super Eight, havebeen doing steady progress. Though they are termed ascricketing minnows, the Irish side has in it to shock a betterranked team on their day. They came pretty close in upsettingEngland and West Indies in a 50-over and a T20 gamerespectively.
Ireland won the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2008 andICC World Cup Qualifier 2009 and qualified for 2009 WorldTwenty20. They have qualified for the 2011 World Cup bybeating Canada in a one-sided final of the qualifyingtournament in South Africa. Among the associate nations,Ireland are the best performing team since the last WorldCup.
Cricket New Zealand has appointed former India coach JohnWright as coach of its team and his knowledge about conditionsin the sub-continent may help the team.
Moreover, they play an all-important World Cup gameagainst Australia at the same venue 12 days later and thispractice game may help them.