Ireland's shock win leaves group open, say rivals
Ireland's shock three-wicket World Cup win over England not only threw Group B wide open but provided a timely warning that no team can take quarter-final spots for granted.
In an astonishing run chase, Ireland overhauled England's 327-8 with five balls to spare on Wednesday, causing the first major upset of this World Cup.
Before the Feb 19-April 2 tournament started, the money had been on favourites India, South Africa and England to advance into the last eight from the group with co-hosts Bangladesh and West Indies battling it out as the fourth qualifier. Associate teams Ireland and the Netherlands had been expected to fall by the wayside.
But England's chances of winning their first 50-over World Cup is in serious jeopardy after a scrappy win against the Netherlands, a dramatic tie with India and the morale-shattering loss to the Irish.
"It shows that you can't take any team for granted," West Indies captain Darren Sammy told reporters on Thursday.
"With this upset, it proves that in cricket, whoever plays better cricket on a day will come out as victorious. Obviously it's a lesson for every team," said Sammy.
Following Ireland's win, the result of West Indies' showdown with Bangladesh in Dhaka on Friday has become even more important for both sides.
Four out of the seven teams in each group will qualify for the quarter-finals, which will be played from March 23.
India and England currently lead the standings with three points each, although South Africa can topple them should they beat Netherlands later on Thursday. West Indies, Bangladesh and Ireland have two points each from two games.
"To me nothing is changed as every match is important," said Sammy.
"We played two games and we have the same focus on Bangladesh. So we are looking forward to go out there and play with whatever the plans we have," he said.
Bangladesh, who beat Ireland by 27 runs last week, are also aware of the new equation after the Ireland shocker.
"Obviously, it will change the line-up of Group B which is now wide open. (Though) I don't know how it will benefit us," said skipper Shakib Al Hasan .
"It will benefit us if we can beat England otherwise it will mean nothing."
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