T20 World Cup: Paul Stirling says India opener key for Ireland

Stirling’s team face T20 World Cup debutants in their following two games – Canada on 7 June in New York before moving to Florida to take on USA a week later.

“I certainly never thought I would play a cricket game in New York in my life – it’s something I’m looking forward to and I know the rest of the squad are as well,” he added.

They finish against Pakistan on 16 June in what is expected to be a meeting between the sides battling for second place behind India.

Pakistan beat the Irish 2-1 in a recent T20 series in Clontarf and are four places higher in the rankings.

Canada and USA may be outsiders but the Americans boast home advantage and defeated Bangladesh 2-1 last month to earn a first series win over a Test-playing nation.

They followed that up by beating the Canadians by seven wickets in the tournament opener on Sunday.

Stirling said: “We know how daunting a task it will be against four strong teams, not just two – the India game is probably the trickiest of the four first up so we aim to put in a really good performance, then we’ve got two huge games coming up after that against the USA and Canada.

“If we get to the stage where we’re facing Pakistan in a ‘winner-takes-all’ we’d probably be happy but if we look too far ahead and look at that scenario we’ll fall short.

“The USA beating Bangladesh just cements the idea that we have to be at our best to beat them.”

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