With 27 days to go to the World Cup Qualifier, Ireland are gearing up and focused on qualification to the World Cup.

Ireland have played 42 matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (known as the ICC Trophy until 2005) from 1994 to 2009 and have won 26 of those matches, including winning the event in their last outing in 2009 in South Africa (Ireland had qualified directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after winning the ICC World Cricket League Championship).

The team is now travelling to Pretoria, South Africa, to participate in a series of warm-up matches against Netherlands, Scotland and Hong Kong ahead of the Zimbabwe tournament, which takes place between 4 and 25 March.

In the qualifier, Ireland will face Netherlands, PNG, the Windies and the winner of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Group A.

Captain William Porterfield, who will be playing his second ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, is confident of his team’s chances: “We are very confident of our chances to qualify, we have been playing some very good cricket and we need to bring that from the start of the tournament and peak at the right time.”

Scoring 515 runs in 10 innings with a highest score of 104 not out in the final of the 2009 event against Canada, Porterfield is focused on the event in Zimbabwe.

“We are focused on qualifying, it will be massive for Ireland if we qualify for the World Cup in England and Wales in 2019.”

Kevin O’Brien, also competing in his second qualifier with a top score of 101 not out against Oman in the 2009 edition, said: “I am looking forward to competing against some very good teams in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier and hopefully qualifying for our fourth ICC Cricket World Cup.

With batting figures of 295 runs in seven innings and bowling figures of three wickets for 24 runs in 2009, O’Brien added: “We feel we have a very good chance of qualifying, but it is going to be tough.

“It would be a massive achievement for us and experience the highs and lows of the previous three World Cups from beating Pakistan on St Patrick’s Day, the run chase against England and knocking off the West Indies in Nelson, but first of all we have a big tournament in March to perform well in.”

Ireland’s fixtures in ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018

  • Sunday, 4 March –Ireland v Netherlands, Harare Sports Club
  • Tuesday, 6 March – PNG v Ireland, Harare Sports Club
  • Saturday, 10 March – Windies v Ireland, Harare Sports Club
  • Monday, 12 March – Ireland v WCL Div.2 (winners), Old Hararians Sports Club
  • Thursday, 15 March – Friday, 23 March – Super Six stage
  • Sunday, 25 March – Final