Ireland captain Balbirnie: ‘We are moving in the right direction’

Sri Lanka v Ireland - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 20: Players of Ireland huddle ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Ireland at Sheikh Zayed stadium on October 20, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

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The Ireland Men’s national cricket team were knocked out of the T20 World Cup in the group stages by Namibia but captain Andrew Balbirnie maintains that the team are improving.

Ireland lost to Namibia by eight wickets in a ‘winner-takes-all’ clash which sees them bow out of the tournament after two consecutive losses.

The opponents took eight wickets off of Balbirnie’s team and the Irish bowlers could not keep Gerhard Erasmus and David Wiese at bay.

Balbirnie spoke at the post-match press conference on Friday and put his trust in the Ireland squad after failing to reach the Super 12.

“At the end of the day, it’s only a game,” the Ireland captain said. “We’re bitterly disappointed and the guys are bitterly disappointed back home but we are moving in the right direction, I feel.

“We’ve got a good, young squad who are hungry to learn. It wasn’t our day today, and so be it.

“We’ve had some great days in the last couple of years and today wasn’t one of them but, yeah look, fair play to Namibia and the way they played today.”

Ireland slowed down after a strong Powerplay courtesy of Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien and Namibia held them to 125 runs over the 20 overs, taking eight wickets to lessen their power.

Wiese and captain Erasmus played brilliantly for Namibia once again as they recorded their second win in a row.

The men in green could not stop Erasmus as he posted an unbeaten half-century, leading the charge for the African nation.

However, Balbirnie praised the performances of his team’s bowlers throughout the T20 World Cup.

“They have had a superb week. Josh [Little] certainly has been the leader of the pack but he has been brilliantly backed up by Curtis [Campher], Mark [Adair] and Craig [Young].

“Craig obviously missed the first game and came back and bowled really well in the second game.

“So yeah, we have a good bit of depth in our seam attack now. We’ve got to bring it altogether whenever we play these big games and put in that performance that warrants getting into the next phase, and I think our performance today doesn’t do that and that’s the disappointing thing – we’re gonna go back disappointed in the way we performed.”

He believes that the team can only grow from their experience at the World Cup this year and noted that he sees them improving every day.

“Our T20 cricket has been inconsistent and it has been a big issue and you can say this tournament has been inconsistent for us but guys are improving – I’ve seen it day in, day out.

“They’re a young and inexperienced squad and they’re gonna learn from this. They’re gonna hurt from this of course, like all of us but we’ve gotta keep moving forward and keep trying to adapt our game.

“We came up short today, but I know the guys, once we have a week or two off back home,will want to improve their skills so that [when] the next time comes round, they’ll be better for it.”

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