Trent - We can upset hosts
All-rounder Trent Johnston believes Ireland can upset West Indies in the ICC World Twenty20 opener.
Last Updated: 01/05/10 8:47am
Trent Johnston believes Ireland can be encouraged by the West Indies' warm-up defeat to New Zealand when they open their ICC World Twenty20 campaign against the hosts at the Guyana National Stadium.
Chris Gayle's side were beaten by seven runs at the same ground on Wednesday in their final game before the tournament gets under way.
But the manner of their defeat, a batting collapse inspired by New Zealand's medium pacer Scott Styris with four wickets for 18 runs, has Johnston believing he can add the Windies to the list of previous Irish victims Pakistan and Bangladesh.
"Chris Gayle and (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul will be coming at us hard on Friday night and so if we can contain those guys, get a couple of early wickets - as we saw against New Zealand - then we can put the West Indies under a bit of pressure," Johnston said.
"If Scott Styris can get wickets against them then we've got three or four Scott Styrises in our team, bowling at the sort of pace he bowls.
"So it's a good sign for us. We've got the likes of myself, Andre (Botha), Alex Cusack and Kevin O'Brien.
"We're not guys who are going to scare anyone with our pace but with our variation and if we execute our skills, they're going to be under a bit of pressure now after that result, being the home side, playing the opening date at a packed house.
"Hopefully we can come out and cause what we would expect with a victory but what everyone else would say is an upset."
Ireland coach Phil Simmons, who played 26 Test matches and 143 one-day internationals for the West Indies between 1987 and 1999, was adamant that his side's reverses this week to New Zealand and fellow qualifiers Afghanistan had not dampened the expectations he had set out for the players.
"Definitely, it doesn't make a difference," Simmons said. "I think, when we play like we built up to play the last two games in Trinidad, for instance, we know we can do it.
"Our expectations are always going to be high so we push ourselves to achieve things that a lot of people doubt we can achieve. That's the way we look at it."
Nor will Simmons let any sentiment get in the way as he prepares Ireland to take on his old team in their Group D opener.
"I wouldn't say there's extra feeling," Simmons said of playing the West Indies.
"It's a thing that's good. It's nice to play against the West Indies just as much as the other guys who'll be happy when we play against England next week.
"At the end of the day when I turn up here on Friday, it's Ireland versus the West Indies. And it could be Ireland versus anybody, it's the same way I feel."