Ireland duly qualified for the ICC World Twenty20 Finals on Saturday in Dubai, but not before they were given another stark reminder that their hard-won title of best-of-the-rest outside of the Test-playing nations faces a new and hungry rival, writes Emmet Riordan.

Phil Simmons's side booked another Caribbean adventure with a resounding 65-run victory over The Netherlands in their final Super Four game, but the combination of a one-hour turnaround and an Afghanistan team buoyed by the presence of over 6,000 supporters helped them take top spot as they eased to an eight-wicket win in the decider.

Ireland have been placed in Group D and head back to Guyana, where they opened their campaign at the 2007 World Cup. There they will face hosts West Indies and an England team likely to contain former Irish star Eoin Morgan.