ICC World Cup: Beating WI is not an upset win, says Niall O'Brien
Ireland intend to take their giant-killing knack to the next stage at the World Cup, by qualifying for the knockout rounds in New Zealand and Australia
Nelson (New Zealand): Ireland intend to take their giant-killing knack to the next stage at the World Cup, by qualifying for the knockout rounds in New Zealand and Australia.
Ireland's Niall O'Brien blasts away to an unbeaten 79 against West Indies at Nelson, NZ yesterday. Piv/Getty Images
William Porterfield's team extended their winning habit against Test-playing nations when they began their campaign with a four-wicket Pool B victory over West Indies yesterday.
They were continuing the trend they have set at previous World Cups, memorably against England at Bangalore in 2011 and Pakistan in the Caribbean four years earlier.
This time, they restricted the Windies to 304 for seven - despite Lendl Simmons' 102 and his sixth-wicket stand of 154 with Darren Sammy (89) - with left-arm spinner George Dockrell taking three for 50.
The men in green always appeared on course for a successful chase and got the job done with more than four overs to spare thanks principally to Paul Stirling (92), Ed Joyce (84) and Niall O'Brien (79 n o).
O'Brien, whose brother Kevin was the hero of that famous success against England, was delighted to have come good at the right time - and is predicting further progress over the next month too. He told talkSPORT: "I was due a few runs. I owed the boys a few, so I'm thrilled to bits.
"It's a fantastic result, from all the lads. We played out of our skins and deserved to win."
Ireland's expert chase shocked the Windies, and doubtless many others, but not O'Brien and his teammates. "From our point of view, it wasn't really an upset," he added. "We went into the game this morning thinking we could and should win the game ... and we've been proved right."
Ireland's next fixture is against the United Arab Emirates in Brisbane on February 25. That, along with Zimbabwe, is one for which they will start definite favourites.
"This win obviously gives us a lot of confidence... potentially we could be going into a game against India with six points out of eight. It's early days, and we won't be getting carried away," said O'Brien.