West Indies will be England’s first Super Eight opponents, after rain prevented a result in last night’s final ICC World Twenty20 Group B match against Ireland at the Premadasa Stadium.
The Irish were cruelly denied a chance to win through to face England at Pallekele on Thursday, as rain wiped out West Indies’ chase of 129 for six.
The Windies therefore qualify for the second stage, in second place behind Australia.
Both they and Ireland lost to Australia, but West Indies recorded a superior run rate in doing so.
Ireland’s workmanlike innings, on a rainy night in Colombo, was interrupted when bad weather first intervened after five overs – and reduced the contest at that stage to 19 per side.
Captain William Porterfield was already gone, for his second golden duck of the tournament to the first ball of the innings, when he could not stop a Fidel Edwards yorker disturbing middle-stump.
Put in after Darren Sammy won the toss, everyone else in the Ireland order from two to eight made double-figures – but none more than Niall O’Brien’s 25 in an innings which set the West Indies a near par target, before rain returned.
The weather did not relent, and Ireland were therefore knocked out.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy is confident they can despatch England, although he played down their chances of winning the tournament. Sammy said: “This is the Super Eight and they are very important games but we do fancy our chances [against England].
“A strong point for us is the belief we have in the dressing room that, once we play to our full potential, the quality we have we could go all the way. But we have got to take it one game at a time.
“We did what we had to today to get through to the next stage and we’ve got to focus again and hope to come through the Super Eights into the semi-finals.”
Pointing to the team’s bowling strength, Sammy singled out Sunil Narine and believes he could be pivotal against England. He said: “I think that will be the first time England will be playing him when the wicket offers him some assistance.
“The last time we played in England the wickets were not friendly to Narine so we know on any turn or any wicket that offers some assistance he can be a handful so we’ll look and see what happens.”
Ireland counterpart Porterfield bemoaned the stop-start nature of the game and said: “I think we’ve seen enough rain so far this year in England. It would have been nice to get out there and get a result. It could have been interesting if we could have got some early wickets there.
“It’s just not easy in this form of the game and to go back out and start against Narine was not easy. That was disappointing, it would have been nice to keep going when we were out there but you play against quality opposition you’ve got to be able to go out there and start at any stage.”
England, meanwhile, are writing off their record defeat against India as a blip which will have no bearing on their prospects at the “business” end of the tournament.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter said: “What’s done is done. We did what we needed to do and qualified and now we’re through to the business part of the competition.
“Now you’ll see the good teams put their hands up and actually put up performances that really matter.”