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Ian Callender

National Coach Phil Simmons described it as a nervous start, captain William Porterfield said he could take plenty from it, but the bottom line is Ireland lost their opening match in the World Twenty20 qualifiers in Dubai to Namibia by four runs.

Simmons had warned anyone who would listen that Namibia would be the dark horse in this tournament. Unfortunately, the Ireland players were the ones who seemed oblivious to his prediction as they let the west Africans blaze away at the start and then failed miserably in attempting to match them in the powerplay overs.

Namibia scored 67 for one in their opening six overs, Ireland responded with 39 for two and, by the end of the eighth over, they were in further strife at 48 for four. A target of 161 had suddenly become an aspiration. But, another excellent innings by Gary Wilson, Ireland's most consistent batsmen this winter, and a 71 runs partnership in 43 balls with John Mooney, put Ireland right back on course to complete a memorable fightback.

But Wilson, crucially, went for 49, to a ball that held up, and a superb penultimate over by Christy Viljoen when Mooney and Andrew White could manage only five singles, left Ireland needing 18 off the last over. Despite a couple of fours, White still had to hit the last ball for six; it tamely went to deep mid-wicket and Ireland were left to count the cost. According to Porterfield it is nothing to worry about yet.

"It's disappointing to lose the first game but Namibia played really well. The two lads (Raymond van Schoor and Louis van der Westhuizen) came out up front and played really aggressively. That was always going to be their plan. But we clawed it back really well and 160 was about par," said the captain.

"We had a couple of needless run outs at the start but the way the two lads (Wilson and Mooney) played I thought they had brought us home. They got it down to 27 off three. It was a good game of cricket. We had a few too many wides and a dropped catch but not I'm not overly concerned. We can take a lot from it.

"We lost the first game last time (in Dubai two years ago) and this is a longer form of tournament this time, with seven games in the group. It would have been a great effort to go through the tournament unbeaten but we have to start again tomorrow (against Kenya), get us back on track and aim for six wins."

Simmons was more critical. "There were nerves out there. We didn't do as well or relax as much as we can. We are a better bowling team than we showed today.

"Anything with (a run rate of) 10s coming to the end you should win and that was disappointing as well. Six games to go we have to win them all." said the coach.

In the 2010 qualifying tournament, Ireland lost to Afghanistan in the opening match but both teams went on to reach the final and qualify. It would not be a surprise, and a relief to the tournament favourites, if history repeated itself.