Ireland have their sights set on a hat-trick of upsets, says Josh Little

Ireland will be going all out to cause one last shock at the T20 World Cup and indirectly boost England’s semi-final hopes, according to Josh Little.

While Ireland are not mathematically out of contention for the semis, realistically the best they can hope for is a top-four finish in the Super 12s, ensuring their qualification for the 2024 tournament.

Having stunned the West Indies to reach this stage before battling past England in a major surprise, Ireland can claim a hat-trick of upset wins when they take on New Zealand at Adelaide on Friday.

Josh Little, centre, has been a key figure for Ireland at the T20 World Cup (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP)
Josh Little, centre, has been a key figure for Ireland at the T20 World Cup (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP)

Such an outcome means England only having to beat Sri Lanka to claim a top-two finish, which would have the knock-on consequence of fourth spot in the group going to Ireland.

However, Little’s only concern was Ireland ending their campaign with a flourish.

Little said: “You’ve seen upsets nearly every day or every second day, if you can even call them upsets anymore. There’s no reason why another upset couldn’t be caused.

“Everyone is pretty competitive. It’s a World Cup. Anything can happen. We’re going out there fully confident hoping to get a win. The boys are feeling good and I’m hoping to grab another scalp.”

Little has been among Ireland’s more reliable performers in Australia, with the left-arm seamer taking eight wickets in six matches at 20.87 apiece and with a more than serviceable 7.26 economy rate.

He followed up figures of 3-0-16-2 in the rain-affected five-run win over England at the MCG last week with two for 21 from four overs in Monday’s defeat against Australia at Brisbane.

Ireland slipped to 25 for five in pursuit of 180 against Australia but Lorcan Tucker’s unbeaten 71 off 48 balls meant the hosts and defending champions were denied a bigger win than they might have hoped.

The 42-run margin of victory means Australia’s net run-rate is still inferior to that of New Zealand and England, with whom they are level on points ahead of the final round of group matches.

Little believes their fightback is indicative of their spirit and improvement in recent years.

He added: “We actually spoke about it. If you look back a couple of years ago, if you saw an Irish side 25 for five, you would think ‘well, that game is done’. You turn off the TV.

“We were saying we’ve come so far to actually get to where we got to and show the Aussie boys that a couple of our boys are right up there.

“To do that was very pleasing and sets the boys in good stead for what’s to come.”