Ireland, the giant killers of the 2007 edition, warmed up for the World Cup with a comfortable four-wicket victory over Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
The spinners bowled almost 35 overs for Zimbabwe given their record of choking the Ireland batsman by cutting down pace. But the middle order was prepared to nudge around and wait till the batting Powerplay to launch a counter attack.
"We were aware of our shortcomings against slow bowling. We spent three weeks in Pune and played on slow and low wickets," said Kevin O'Brien, who curbed his natural instinct to belt the bowlers at the start to score a run-a-ball 62 and ensure that the 245-run chase never went out of hand.
Andre Botha also chipped in with a 101-ball 79 and added 99 with O'Brien after Ireland were reduced to 127 for four in the 31st over. Tuesday’s reult notwithstanding, the batsmen would give Ireland confidence.
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 244/8 (Chigumbura 103, Taibu 45; Johnston 2/9, Botha 2/58) bt Ireland 245/6 in 49.3 overs (Botha 79, Kevin O'Brien 62 not out; Masakadza 2/39; Price 2/37)