Ireland v New Zealand, Trent Bridge, 12:30 GMT.
| Ball-by-ball | Live blog
By Aaron Kumar
New Zealand take on Ireland in the first Super Eight game of this year's ICC World Twenty20 competition, in Trent Bridge later today.
The Kiwis were many people's dark horses to go all the way in this competition while Ireland have continued to show the cricketing world that they are a team on the rise, by upsetting Bangladesh to reach the Super Eight stage for the first time.
It is fair to say that New Zealand's form has been patchy so far in this tournament; they conceded 89 runs in a rain reduced seven over a side contest against Scotland, and at half time it looked as though Scotland might pull off an upset much like the Netherlands had done a day earlier. However some brutal hitting from Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor sealed victory for the All Blacks with an over to spare.
After the match stand in captain McCullum admitted that his side had been pushed to the limit against Scotland.
"They put us under considerable pressure and I thought it was a very brave and courageous performance from them," he said.
New Zealand followed up their victory against Scotland, with a narrow one-run defeat at the hands of one of the tournament's favourites, South Africa. After restricting South Africa to 127-8 New Zealand would have fancied their chances of claiming a notable scalp. However, the Black Caps were not able to cope with the slow bowling of Roelof van der Merwe who was something of a revelation for the Bangalore Royal Challengers and the South Africans emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins.
Perhaps the biggest concern for New Zealand is their growing injury list. Their captain Daniel Vettori has played no part in this tournament as yet, while Ross Taylor sustained a hamstring injury against South Africa and will not play in today’s encounter with Ireland.
Ireland on the other hand will be looking to build on their performance against India yesterday where they made 112-8 batting first in a rain reduced contest; this was never going to be enough and so it proved as India emerged convincing eight-wicket victors.
In all likelihood New Zealand should be far too strong for New Zealand, but their injury list plus the fact that this is the shortest form of the game, could well bring the two sides closer together.
One thing is for sure - the Irish will be doing everything in their power to upset New Zealand. When asked about the Super Eights Irelands captain William Porterfield said there is an upset in us. New Zealand will be hoping that it is not today.
© Cricket World 2009