Andrew Balbirnie speaks following Ireland v Afghanistan was rained off
Andrew Balbirnie speaks following Ireland v Afghanistan was rained off.
Q. How disappointing was that, Andrew, after a match probably you were targeting to win?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: Yeah, it's not disappointing. When you haven't done anything, you can't really be too disappointed. I think the weather has just been so bad over the last -- probably since it started raining in our game, it just hasn't stopped. I'd be very doubtful if there's a game played this evening as well, it's just so wet out there.
It's not that disappointing because we can't control it. So we'll just have to move on to Brisbane and hope we get a good performance up there.
Q. There's the chance to go top of the table. How would that have sounded?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: Yeah, I think naturally, if we had gone out and there was a bit of a break or a bit of sunshine around, but the fact it was so gray and wet, it was always doubtful we'd get out there.
I'm not sure. I think we're second now. There's just so much going on in that group with rained off fixtures and run rate and stuff.
But I suppose to still be in the hunt with two games left is pretty good.
Q. And two pretty big games coming up?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: Yeah, the world champions in their own backyard is something pretty special. I know the group are pretty excited about that challenge. Each game brings its own challenge, and certainly playing the best T20 team as they're champions up at The Gabba is pretty special.
We have some good memories from The Gabba from a few years ago, but certainly playing Australia there will be a completely different animal. But it's exciting at the same time.
Q. It's another team you haven't played in many years?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: Yeah, like I said, I haven't played them in a T20 international, but we know how good they'll be. It's certainly getting down to that sort of must win territory for a lot of teams. Certainly, there will be big pressure on those teams when they play against us. They'll be expected to beat us no doubt.
It's kind of a nice way to go into a game. You can play with a bit more freedom. Hopefully, we have that belief in our group. We certainly have that belief in our group that we can beat them, but we know we'll have to be very good on the day.
Q. You've beaten England, you've beaten West Indies, why not Australia?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: 100 percent, yeah. Like I said. They're under a lot of pressure. Tonight's game will probably be abandoned unless there's a sun somewhere up there. So yeah, it will be all to play for, for all the teams next week at The Gabba and then down to Adelaide.
So it's exciting, getting to go to The Gabba and the Adelaide Oval in potentially games that could progress into the semi-finals all going well. But certainly, the first task is to have a good crack at the Aussies.
Q. Obviously the cricket schedule is pretty manic, but is there a frustration you've come here for this great global event that has been the focus of your year, and here you are in the wettest month in Melbourne and kind of paying the price for it?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: We've played five games out of six. We were lucky in Hobart, we got all three games in there. We got Sri Lanka, played against England, and this is the first time it's been called off. The weather looks pretty good in Brisbane, but it's obviously causing a lot difficulties in other games. Obviously Afghanistan this is their second game in a row abandoned, so they're a bit unlucky in that regard.
It's just part of the game unfortunately. You do come to Australia thinking you don't need a hoodie or a rain jacket, but it's certainly been different since we arrived three or four weeks ago.
Yeah, it's not controllable. So, we don't get too worked up about it.
Q. You don't think there's a danger it might threat the credibility of the tournament?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: I don't want to comment on that. Like I said, we've played five games out of six. They've been good games of cricket. It's been entertaining. We've played some pretty good stuff.
It is different because last time we were in Australia for a World Cup was in February and March. But from what I understand, there's a lot of cricket around the world. Like I said, I can't really control any of that. We're here to play. We've played some good stuff since I've been here, and we'll play some good stuff next week.
Q. I appreciate you talked about the win over England on Wednesday, but with Pakistan losing to Zimbabwe yesterday, it's like another one of these so-called upsets with less established sides and smaller amounts of money. Why do you think they're happening so regularly, as often in this World Cup? Why do you think we've had so many of them?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: Because they're good teams, we're good teams. We might not be recognised because we don't play as often as other teams on the big stage or in front of the cameras as often, but I think these tournaments consistently show that teams outside the big six or seven are very good cricket teams.
Zimbabwe, they obviously beat us in the first game in the first round, and they're a very good cricket team. I think we're a very good cricket team, and the teams that didn't qualify like Scotland and West Indies are good cricket teams.
That's why it's important for us to play on this stage as often as possible to showcase those skills and show that we can compete with these teams and beat these teams. Like I said, we've played a pretty exciting brand of cricket so far, which is as important as getting results.
Yeah, I think we've had some positive stuff come out of the last couple of weeks.
Q. Do you think that pack's got closer to the top six or seven that you mentioned than in previous years?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: Yes, I certainly do. T20 cricket, you can play a lot of it throughout a year. It's a format that there's so many leagues around the world, not just the big leagues, but leagues in loads of different countries. So a lot of players are playing T20 cricket all around the world and getting experiences and exposure and learning new things. That T20 cricket is moving on probably as quick as any of the formats.
Certainly you've got to keep up with the trends of the game and stuff like that. So I think we're trying to do that as best we can, and our results over the last week probably show we're doing a good job so far.
Q. There's a real belief within the side that you guys can reach the semi-finals, touching on what Matt said there, busting open the myth that there is a gap between the haves and the have nots?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: We certainly believe we can. Our result on Wednesday certainly backs that belief as well. We didn't play our best cricket, and we still managed to beat a team as good as England. So that was a positive.
I wouldn't want to be a group that didn't think that. That would certainly be a bad environment to be a part of. Myself, Heinrich, a couple of the senior players try to drive that as much as possible.
And you just never know. There's pressure on us, but it's different to the big teams. Australia are probably going to have to win their last two games. So that will be a different pressure for them. Like I said, they'll be expected to win by a lot of people in that stadium, and that could play into our favour.
But we have to play good cricket, and that's what we've always focused on is trying to play a really good style of cricket, and hopefully we can do that next week.
Q. Matthew Mott said yesterday that you guys saw -- in the England game, had a bit of a free hit, whereas they maybe there was a bit of a nervousness around. I suppose that's what you're alluding to there. You guys can just go into it with no pressure on your shoulders, whereas the bigger teams --
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: Yeah, the free hit word, I've seen a bit of it. I understand it, but at the same time, the pressure that we have at this stage is, if we lose badly, a lot of people say we don't deserve to be here. That's a different kind of pressure.
We don't like using the term free hit because we want to go out and play -- even if it's the first round or the second round, we want to play a certain way. We have as much to lose as well in this tournament.
So I can understand how people say that, but from our point of view, it's certainly, we feel, on a level playing field when we take the field, and we have to perform that way too.
Q. With rain affecting so many games, it's highly likely the net run rate is going to come into the equation. Has your team started having those conversations in team meetings already with regard to run rate scenarios, or is it too early?
ANDREW BALBIRNIE: We haven't talked much about it, to be honest. We're first going to, in order to qualify, have to win. I haven't looked at the table, but if we lose two games, the run rate isn't going to matter. We have to worry about winning the games first and foremost, and the run rate will look after itself.
I think we can't look too far ahead of ourselves.