Dubai: With ICC T20 World Cup 2020 due in Australia, Ireland all-rounder Kevin O'Brien said that his side has high ambitions in the shortest format.
In spite of suffering a whitewash at the hands of Afghanistan in a recent three-match T20I, the all-rounder is assertive to qualify for the tournament.
O'Brien insisted that his side was competitive with the ball in the first game and batting in the next two. In the opening T20I, Ireland bowlers held the neck of the opponents till last over while defending a modest 132. In the second and third, Irish batsmen performed better in the run-chase of 200-plus totals posted by Afghanistan.
"It is disappointing to lose 0-3, although Afghanistan are a very good side. We acquitted ourselves well in periods of all three games — especially with the ball in game one, and in the run chase in game two and three. We probably just lacked a little bit of experience towards the end of both innings, but we are certainly gearing up for bigger things in the future – especially with the T20 qualifier in October. We are starting to put some good things in place," ICC quoted O'Brien, as saying.
The all-rounder had a good time with the bat, scoring 116 runs at a strike rate of 141.46. He was promoted up the order and is hopeful to get more opportunities.
"I love batting at the top of the order. I have done it for franchise teams in the past and had some success. I think our performances in the past in T20 needed a change, and hopefully this move continues to be a successful one," he said.
In their next assignment, Ireland will meet Afghanistan for five-match one-day international series, starting 28 February.
"We have got to go in fresh, but still take in what we have learnt from the T20s with the bat and ball. Their (Afghanistan) squad is very similar in that they have four or five guys coming in and it is important we learn quickly from this experience and try to implement it in the 50-over game," O'Brien said.
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Follow live score and updates of the 3rd ODI between Ireland and South Africa in Dublin.
A target of 160 was within Ireland's reach but they lost wickets steadily, with Bjorn Fortuin and Tabraiz Shamsi taking three apiece.
Bavuma made 72 from 51 balls with six fours and two sixes, while Hendricks added 69 from 48.