Simmons unhappy with Ireland
Phil Simmons accused his Ireland side of complacency following defeat to Afghanistan, but backed his players to come good in the ICC World Twenty20.
A deeply disappointed Simmons was reacting to a five-wicket loss to fellow qualifiers Afghanistan in Ireland's final warm-up game in Guyana.
The Irish open their World Twenty20 Group D campaign back at the Georgetown venue tomorrow night against the West Indies and following a 40-run loss to New Zealand on Tuesday, the reverse to Afghanistan left a bitter taste in the Ireland head coach's mouth.
“I can't express my thoughts,” Simmons, the former West Indies all-rounder, said. “We didn't start the game well. We can't have five wickets down for 30 runs in eight or nine overs and expect to be competitive in a game.
“It's a case of complacency and bad batting as a whole. We've just got to make sure that we get rid of that complacency.”
Ireland struggled with bat and then ball in key phases of the game.
Opening bowler Dawlat Ahmadzai immediately had them in trouble, removing skipper Will Porterfield second ball before knocking over Paul Stirling, Alex Cusack and Kevin O'Brien for just 15 runs in his four-over spell as Simmons' team slumped to 32 for five in the eighth over.
Only a sixth-wicket stand of 79 between John Mooney, who top-scored with 42, and Gary Wilson, who hit 32, allowed the Irish to post a score of 133 for nine in their 20 overs.
Ireland's bowlers began brightly in response, with slow left-armer George Dockrell again the pick with 2-23 runs in four overs as Afghanistan advanced to 66 for four.
Then came the game's decisive partnership as Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Stanikzai put on another 66 runs to set up the Afghanistan victory, Stanikzai scoring an unbeaten 39 which came off 27 balls.
Simmons, however, said losing warm-up games had not unduly affected Ireland in the past and he had confidence in his players to turn things around again.
“We lost four going into the (Twenty20) World Cup in England last year and we lost two coming into the (50-over) World Cup here three years ago so that does nothing for us,” he said.
“The thing about it is that before yesterday and today we had done everything that we wanted to do leading up to the competition.
“Two days doesn't change anything. I think it's a case of us making sure that between Thursday and Friday morning that mentally we get prepared for what it the biggest game since we've been on this tour.
“I think the guys are capable of doing that. We've had two bad days but two bad days don't make a summer, as they say. I think we still have the desire to come on Friday and perform.”