Head coach Ed Joyce wants Ireland to keep it simple in T20 World Cup European Qualifier

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Netherlands series important in lead up to European Qualifiers: Ed Joyce

Ireland head coach Ed Joyce. © Cricket Ireland

Ireland will start the T20 World Cup European Qualifiers as the favourites when the tournament gets underway at the La Manga club in Spain on Thursday (August 26). Head coach Ed Joyce believes they had as much game time as they possibly can have going to the competition and that will hold them in good stead in their matches against other four sides.

“I feel we got as much cricket as we could have got this summer obviously with the issues surrounding Covid and teams travelling stuff like that,” Joyce said on the eve of the opening day of the tournament. “I am pretty happy with the series wins against Scotland and Netherlands, in fact we manged to go and play at Old Trafford against Lancashire. lots of games in the Super Series even with the inclement weather.”

“I feel like we have prepared pretty well for the tournament. Obviously in Spain, heat going to play a factor and we have been working a little bit on the fitness.”

“The girls are as ready as they going to be and it’s now about performing on the day which is easier said than done in Qualifiers with every game being important. We know, we need to win every game and come out on top or potentially don’t go through. I think we are ready to go.”

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Ireland returned to international cricket after a gap of more than 18 months when they faced Scotland at home and went on to win the T20I series 3-1 after losing the first match and then repeated the feat against Netherlands with another series win but lost the final game. Joyce refused to read much into those defeats and said they will take the learnings from those matches when they take on the same oppositions in the Qualifier.

“You never like to lose a game but we have learnt a lot. The first Scotland game we didn’t bat very well and was a very big learner for us. That told us that we have to go out there and play with freedom that we have been talking about in the last 18 months. We have done that in every game since that,” Joyce said.

“The Netherlands game we lost, I think they batted really well and chased down tricky score there and fair play for them in doing that. We were obviously missing Orla Prendergast, Lara Maritz and Ava Canning in that game. We did a learn about their big hitters that day and if they get in again, we know how to bowl a little better against them. I am very happy with both the series win against two very good teams.”

Opening batter Gaby Lewis has been instrumental in Ireland’s series wins with 180 runs from seven matches at a strike rate of 130.43 and the 20-year-old went on to feature in England’s The Hundred competition after being called up by Southern Brave as the replacement player for Smriti Mandhana in the final two matches.

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“Gaby’s appearance in The Hundred is fantastic for us and a great opportunity for her. More importantly - I think she would have liked to got a big score in one of the games - But the fact that she got over there and managed to play in the final. Even though she didn’t score any runs, it will be an experience that stand good for her. I know they were really impressed with her over the week about training and stuff like that,” Joyce added.

“She is a really impressive player and hopefully she has done enough to have them the confidence to get her back over and she will go only from strength to strength. She is a brilliant athlete and we would like to see more opportunities for the Irish players.”

Ireland will start their campaign with the match against Germany on the opening day and the former Ireland men’s international wants the players to keep the game plans simple without worrying about the qualification.

“The key message – in all the games, not just the Germany game - is even though it’s the Qualifiers, you feel like like everything you do is so important and you have to win and all those things, we just want to play the way we want to play and all the XI are going to go out knowing their roles and fielding really well. Keeping simple game plans, believing in ourselves and backing each other will go a long way towards us being successful. There’s a good vibe around the camp and we are looking forward to get stuck in,” Joyce concluded.