Ireland’s dramatic World Cup win over England proves that the smaller nations deserve a place at cricket’s biggest tournament, captain William Porterfield said.
Ireland, inspired by Kevin O’Brien’s blazing 113, the fastest century in World Cup history, defeated England by three wickets on Wednesday to boost their quarter-final chances and strike a blow for the non-Test nations.
The sensational win comes after a decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to cut the number of teams in the 2015 World Cup to 10 from the current 14, infuriating the second tier, or associate, nations.
They fear a carve-up that will see a competition dominated by the Test teams and their chances of qualifying drastically reduced.
“The ICC have made a decision and it’s out of our hands,” Porterfield said. “It’s pretty disappointing cutting the teams to 10.
“I personally think there needs to be some kind of qualification,” he added.
Ireland knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup in Jamaica and beat another Test nation, Bangladesh, in the second phase of that tournament.
As far back as 1969, Ireland beat the West Indies, whom they also defeated in 2004, but Porterfield said victory against England topped the lot.
“It’s the biggest win our country has ever had. Pakistan was a good win but as a one-off game this was the biggest,” said Porterfield, whose side bounced back from their 27-run opening loss to Bangladesh in Dhaka in dramatic style.
Aside from O’Brien’s heroics, all-rounder John Mooney took four for 63 and scored 33 not out to see Ireland home with five balls to spare.
“It’s the biggest chase in the World Cup so it’s the best,” said Porterfield after Ireland, who made 329 for seven, broke Sri Lanka’s record for the most runs made by a team batting second to win a World Cup match, 313-7 in 1992.
“We’re going to enjoy the moment now,” said left-handed opener Porterfield, out for a golden duck when he played on to James Anderson off the very first ball of Ireland’s reply.
Porterfield’s men return to the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore to play co-hosts and tournament favourites India on Sunday.
“We need to prepare for another game and there’s no reason why we can’t give them a run for their money,” he said.
The ICC has not yet decided on the nature of the qualification process for the next World Cup and have tried to placate the smaller nations by expanding the World Twenty20 from 12 teams to 16.