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SA have Ire in their belly

Kolkata to cheer Ireland post South Africa's India win. Nikhilesh Bhattacharya reports.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2011 02:23 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

Ireland can expect vociferous support from Indian fans here on Tuesday when they take on the team that has single-handedly dumped the host country into a state of gloom by pulling off a thrilling win over MS Dhoni's men on Saturday.

While India have a week to ponder over their future, South Africa are looking to quickly put that night of triumph behind them as they try to ensure qualification to the knockout stage. Apart from the Dutch, every team in Group B is still in with a chance to make it to the quarterfinals and no one is assured of progressing.

"It was a great win and a very important one but that is all I am going to say about it right now," South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl said at Eden Gardens on Monday when asked if victory over India had set his team up for the rest of the tournament.

Van Zyl was equally cautious when asked about the challenge posed by Ireland. "They have impressed not just us but everyone with the way they have performed in the tournament. So, we know we have a tough match tomorrow against tough opponents," Van Zyl said about the team that stunned England and stretched India.

Injury concerns
Both teams have injury concerns. For South Africa, leg-spinner Imran Tahir is recovering from a left thumb injury that forced him to miss the match against India, and AB de Villiers underwent a scan for a hamstring injury on Monday morning.

The schedule has not been kind to South Africa either, forcing them to play two matches in four days, in Nagpur and Kolkata.

Having arrived here on Sunday night, South Africa decided not to train on Monday. "But that does not mean we are not preparing," said the South Africa coach.

Ireland's Andre Botha is ill and pacer Trent Johnston is struggling with a knee injury. However, as their captain William Porterfield said, there is no pressure on the team ahead of the match.

Cup arrives in Eden
The World Cup will finally arrive at Eden Gardens but for most it is two weeks too late. Losing the India-England match to Bangalore because the stadium was not deemed ready by the International Cricket Council (ICC) still rankles. Come Tuesday and a shock win for Ireland, or a stunning innings of the kind that Kevin O'Brien played against England, or at least a competitive match will alleviate some of the pain of the fans.