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Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Thursday, 10 February 2011

Cricket World Cup: Irish skipper Porterfield confident

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011
Dates: 19 February-2 April Venues: India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Coverage: Highlights on BBC TV, Red Button & BBC Sport website (UK users only); Live Test Match Special commentary (BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website, some games also on BBC Radio 4 LW) and live text commentary on all England matches and selected other major games; Also live on Sky Sports

William Porterfield and Boyd Rankin
Porterfield and team-mate Boyd Rankin after their arrival in India

Ireland captain William Porterfield is confident his side can confound their underdog status and progress from the group stages of the World Cup.

England, South Africa, co-hosts India and the West Indies are fancied to qualify from Group B but skipper Porterfield is undaunted.

"I think we have a great chance of getting out of our group," he said.

"We'll be pretty well prepared come our first match group match (against Bangladesh) on 25 February."

Ireland faced a similarly daunting challenge in their maiden World Cup four years ago before recording a memorable St Patrick's Day win over Pakistan to reach the Super Eights.

Porterfield was part of that side and believes they can once again upset the odds.

Speaking ahead of Ireland's warm-up game against New Zealand in Nagpur, India on Saturday, Porterfield added:"The top four out of seven get there (to the quarter-finals) and then there is the knockout stage where anything can happen.

"Obviously, we'll be looking to get used to the conditions, but we were out in India before Christmas and we've already been together a couple of weeks."

We have got players who can fit any occasion we come up against

Ireland captain William Porterfield

Porterfield, who plays county cricket for Warwickshire, ranks the current squad as better than the one which shocked everyone with their efforts in 2007.

Jeremy Bray and Dave Langford-Smith may have retired, while Eoin Morgan transferred his allegiance to England, but the 2011 squad includes young talents such as Paul Stirling and George Dockrell plus the experienced Ed Joyce.

In all, 13 of the 15-man squad are now professional players, a significantly higher figure than the largely amateur class of 2007.

Seven of the party have county deals and six more are contracted by Cricket Ireland, meaning only Nigel Jones and Andrew White hold down day jobs.

"That has been a big strength of the last couple of years," added Porterfield.

"We have been able to improve our games by playing day in, day out. The professional set-up is where we've really moved on.

"We have got players who can fit any occasion we come up against and I think we have a well-balanced squad going into this tournament."

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see also
Ireland lose to Kenya in warm-up
08 Feb 11 |  Ireland
West left out of Irish cup squad
19 Jan 11 |  Ireland
Joyce pleased by Irish progress
09 Jan 11 |  Ireland
O'Brien hails Irish 'favourite' Joyce
21 Jan 11 |  Northants
Wilson targets quarter-final spot
19 Jan 11 |  Surrey
Joyce cleared for World Cup duty
09 Nov 10 |  Ireland
Rankin set to be fit for Ireland
20 Dec 10 |  Ireland
Joyce waits on World Cup decision
23 Oct 10 |  Ireland
Joyce and Marshall in Irish squad
20 Oct 10 |  Cricket
Joyce wants to return for Ireland
24 May 10 |  Ireland
Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
19 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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