#CWC15 PREVIEW: Ireland after more major scalps at Cricket World Cup 2015

Ireland are the strongest of the Associate nations to have qualified for the ICC World Cup, their third appearance after first impressing in 2007 and then again in 2011.

Their two most notable scalps were beating Pakistan in the Caribbean in 2007 before seeing off ‘local’ rivals England four years late in India when they chased down a total of 300 plus thanks to a pulsating century from Kevin O’Brien, who has since gone on to play county cricket and T20 cricket in a number of the worldwide leagues.

Ireland dominated the World Cricket League Championship between 2011 and 2013, thus qualifying through to Pool B of the competition alongside South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe and United Arab Emirates.

Given that four qualify out of each of the two pools, the Irish will really fancy their chances, especially given the uncertainty surrounding West Indies cricket at present.

Should they reach the last eight, it will be the second time they have qualified out of their group.

Only last week, Australia legend Jason Gillespie called for the Irish to be given Test match status, giving you an indication of their pedigree.

They will be warming up for the competition with a tour of the UAE in January, playing a series of matches against Scotland and Afghanistan. They will play two matches against each nation between January 10-19.

Badger Predicts

Ireland to qualify for the last eight with a trio of wins against Zimbabwe, UAE and West Indies.

With the West Indies being their first match in Nelson on February 16, an early six-pointer in soccer terms, they must hit the ground running.

Ireland Squad

Ireland have already named a 15-man squad for their UAE tour, with them due to confirm a final World Cup squad in early January.

William Porterfield (captain), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.

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