Ireland have to keep the faith after latest Cup heartache

The Ireland cricket team’s long wait to take part in a 50 Over World Cup has been extended by at least another four years after their elimination in the group stages of qualifying for the 2023 competition.

The disappointment for Irish fans can’t be understated. While qualifying for the World Cup in India was always going to be an uphill battle, at the very least, the Irish would have expected to be eliminated at the Super Sixes stage. Instead, after defeats to Oman, Scotland, and Sri Lanka, Andrew Balbirnie’s team never even made it out of the group and into the Super Sixes. Never mind India for the actual finals.

On paper, beating Oman and Scotland was very doable, but Ireland only managed a late consolation victory over a second-string United Arab Emirates in the final game of their group. Given what the Netherlands managed in the other group (upsetting a near full-strength West Indies side), Ireland’s results feel even more disappointing.


Who are the favorites to win the World Cup?

England may be the defending champions, having beaten New Zealand in a nerve-wracking final in 2019, but they are not the favorites to win the WC when it gets underway on October 5th. Hosts India are the favorites with the bookmakers at +220, with England next at cricket betting odds of +300. Australia are at +400, while 1992 champions Pakistan are at +700, with New Zealand at +750 and South Africa at +1000.

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When did Ireland last play at a CWC?

The last time that Ireland played at a 50 Over Cricket World Cup was in 2015. That was also the last time that the competition was a 12-team tournament. In the 2019 Cricket World Cup, the competition reverted to being a ten-team competition, with all the qualifying nations playing each other in a round-robin format.

This made qualifying for the event far harder for the smaller cricket nations, with two fewer places in the competition available. Unfortunately for Ireland, and other smaller cricketing nations, such as Scotland and the Netherlands, the ICC have stuck with the ten-team format for the 2023 edition.

The Irish have a mixed history in the Cricket World Cup. For the first five competitions they weren’t members of the ICC, so didn’t take part in any of the qualifying events. After becoming an associate member of the ICC in 1993, Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cups in 1996, 1999, and 2003.

Finally, in 2007, the Irish qualified for the finals. This was followed by successfully qualifying for the 2011 and 2015 finals. The highlight of their three finals was a three wicket win over England in the 2011 competition in India.

Where does Ireland go from here?

As disappointing as it must have been for Ireland to get knocked out in the group stages of qualifying for the 2023 World Cup, there are still positives they can cling to. Since becoming a full member of the ICC in 2017, Irish cricket has undergone some major transformations. They now have their own domestic competitions and infrastructure, and numerous Irish players have been selected to play in franchise competitions like the Pakistan Super League, The Hundred, and even the IPL in India.


There is still a long way to go. But with players performing in overseas competitions, the standards are more likely to rise, than falter. And when young up-and-coming players start to see the financial benefits of playing in white-ball competitions, it will only help grow the game, and with that, the Irish national team will hopefully reap the rewards.

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