AUCKLAND – Zimbabwe stand-in-skipper Brendan Taylor has called on his teammates to show more intent in their final pool game against defending champions India on Saturday in order to conclude their ninth World Cup campaign on a high note.
Zimbabwe became the first Test playing nation to get eliminated from quarter-final contention following their five-run defeat to Ireland last week.
Ahead of their final Pool B game against India in Auckland, Taylor said that it was another opportunity to try and get all three departments right, adding that they have beaten India before back home so they have the belief that they could do it, Sport24 reported.
Taylor, who has amassed 295 runs so far in the tournament, further said that there was a lot to play for, a lot of pride at stake, insisting that they want to try and finish on a high note.
Describing their World Cup campaign as “disappointing”, Taylor conceded that there had been positions against South Africa, the West Indies and Pakistan, where they could have got over the line if they had been smarter as batters.
Taylor said that they had played some excellent cricket for 80% of the time they had been here but that 20% was why they were not going to progress.
Meanwhile, Ireland captain William Porterfield insisted yesterday his side belonged among the world’s elite and said he despised the tag of “Associate” which virtually brands a host of teams as second-class citizens.
Non-Test playing Ireland are on course for a World Cup quarter-final place and can ensure a spot in the last eight if they shock defending champions India today.
They already have six points from three wins and a defeat in Pool B, seeing off Test sides West Indies and Zimbabwe as well as the amateurs of the United Arab Emirates.
Their only defeat so far was a 201-run wake-up call against South Africa.
Victory over either India or Pakistan, in their final group game in Adelaide on Sunday, will put them in the quarter-finals with Pakistan or West Indies heading home.
“I don’t like that tag of Associates,” Porterfield, whose team qualified for the tournament as one of four non-Test sides alongside Afghanistan, UAE and Scotland, said.
“I don’t think teams should be associated any differently, and putting those tags on us.
“As far as I’m concerned, there is a ranking system in place and that’s where we’re at,” Porterfield whose team is ranked 11 in the world added.
Non-Test teams, however, could miss out on the 2019 World Cup with the International Cricket Council (ICC) planning to reduce the number of participating teams from 14 at the ongoing event to just 10.
“Hopefully the ICC will take notice and will start looking at the next World Cup,” Porterfield said.
“Obviously, cutting teams in the World Cup isn’t the way forward unless that’s the vision for the game. If you want to progress your game and grow the game of cricket, then cutting teams in world competitions isn’t the way forward.”
Regardless of his fears for future tournaments, Porterfield is relishing the tantalising prospect of making the quarter-finals.
“Yeah, it’s a nice position to be in,” he said. “We want to be in the quarter-finals, we set ourselves this goal before we came here but it doesn’t count for anything if we don’t keep getting good performances and good starts to the game.”
Porterfield, whose team also made it to the second round of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean by shocking Pakistan, said they would not be paying India too much respect.
“It’s like any other game. We’ve gotten into each game with two points up for grabs, and tomorrow isn’t any different. We’ve approached each game with great clarity and great professionalism and we’ve prepared very well.”
Porterfield said Ireland would like to restrict India’s batting, widely regarded as the best in the world.
“Look, obviously, we’ve got to try and restrict them with the ball and take wickets. It’s just like any game of cricket and in this format the best way of restricting teams is taking wickets.
“Whatever we do, the first ten overs is going to be big, if that’s with the bat or with the ball, we have to start the game well and get into it.”
Porterfield relished the publicity his team were generating back home. “You speak to people who are back home and the stories that you see coming out are great, and that’s where cricket is going in Ireland. So, hopefully, yeah, we do make those quarter-finals and keep pushing on as a country ourselves.”