Do or die for Ireland
Kevin O'Brien (Mail on Sunday)
Our defeat to Australia was disappointing but we have been working hard since Wednesday and everyone knows it's a do or die game for us on Monday. We had a good work-out yesterday, we've watched a few videos of the West Indies in action and after more team meetings we will be well prepared.
Probably what made the Aussies' result so disappointing was that confidence was high after getting the fourth win, against Bangladesh, in the warm-ups and we had a lot of momentum going into the Australia game just 48 hours later.
I must admit I'm still pretty nervous going into these big games. I remember last year in Bangladesh I couldn't watch the game live I was so nervous. For me it is the waiting, but once you get out there and you get through the first two or three balls the nerves go away and you get down to your job. I will just have to learn to deal with it.
I suppose I didn't have to wait long against Australia, I was walking to the middle in the eighth over at 33 for four which wasn't ideal. But backs against the wall is when we play our best cricket.
There were a few words flying around but that's international cricket. They were the worst verbals ever directed at me but I suppose that is a compliment. They feared three or four of us and by getting into our heads they thought they could distract us from our game, trying to get one over us. But I didn't just stand there and take it, I gave plenty back.
Since 2009 in the World Twenty20 in England we have been improving and certainly big teams do respect us and give a lot more thought on how to play us and that is the challenge, for us as a team and individuals, to keep improving. We can't stand still and if we go through the motions we will struggle in these tournaments.
It was disappointing myself and Nialler (brother Niall) both got out in the same over. If we had stayed another three or four overs, we could have got up to 150 but that's the little margins which Twenty20 is all about.
"I knew (Shane) Watson was going to go short with the field he had. I went deep in the crease and tried to ramp it over the keeper.
Another 10 per cent on the ball and it would have been four. It didn't come off but on Monday it might fly over the keeper and go for six.
At halfway, we certainly hadn't give up. It's not long ago Australia were bowled out for 90 by Pakistan. Obviously had to take wickets up front but (David) Warner and Watson batted well for the first seven overs and took the game away from us. We have to win the first six overs on Monday with bat and ball and that's what we have been working on.
Last night's game will give a big indication of what we have to do. Hopefully Australia win it and it will be a shoot-out between us and West Indies (for the second place in the Super Eight). We have nothing to lose if that is the case and if it is a knock-out game all the pressure will be on them. Their big players will have to come to the party if they want to get a win.
We'll do our homework, bowl in areas where we feel we can get wickets and tie down their batters. They obviously have world class players and we just have to go in with our plans, execute our skills the best we can and hopefully that will be enough on the day.
I've read the comments that people thought we were tired against the Australians, that we warmed up for too long. The game on Wednesday started at half past three. We had lunch at ground and I like to have my batting and bowling done before we do our stretching with Brendan (Connor, the strength and conditioning coach), then I'm inside in the dressing room 35 minutes before the start. It is the same preparation we have done on match days for the last nine months in T20 cricket.
It proved successful in Dubai (at the qualifying tournament) so we are not going to change our strategies and our pre-match routine just because it is a little bit warmer. If Brendan and the management think we need an hour's warm-up they know better than us. No-one was complaining in Dubai because we were winning games. Because you lose one game, you don't break routine. You just put your hands up and say we weren't good enough on the day, which we weren't and look forward to Monday.
We'll look to come back stronger and execute our skills better than we did against Australia and hopefully we can win. If not then West Indies are going to have play very well to beat us.