Cricket World Cup: Ireland's Stirling upbeat for Zimbabwe tie

Ireland training session at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart
Ireland training session at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart
Pool B: Zimbabwe v Ireland
Venue: Hobart Date: Saturday, 7 March (0330 GMT)
Coverage: Live Test Match Special radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website, plus desktop, tablets, mobiles and app.

Ireland opener Paul Stirling is confident ahead of Saturday's crunch World Cup Pool B game against Zimbabwe.

Stirling, 24, smashed 92 against West Indies to help his side secure the first of their two wins, leaving them two points clear of Zimbabwe.

"It's a big game but we will treat it like the rest of our matches and hopefully we will win," he said.

"My form is great - I feel in really good nick, I've been bowling really well and I'm catching the ball."

Ireland's run rate, which could be vital in securing a quarter-final spot, was significantly damaged in the heavy defeat by South Africa - but it is not a concern for Stirling.

He added: "It's not about run rate, it's about getting the two points no matter how they come.

"We are just focused on the Zimbabwe game, then we can plan ahead for the match with India.

"Zimbabwe have a very set middle order, that is a very big area for us to focus on in the game."

Ireland's remaining Pool B fixtures
DateOpponentVenue
Saturday, 7 MarchZimbabweHobart (Aus)
Tuesday, 10 MarchIndiaHamilton (NZ)
Sunday, 15 MarchPakistanAdelaide (Aus)

The Africans have won just one of their four games and are sixth in Pool B, one place behind Ireland.

Victory at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart will put them back in the hunt for a quarter-final place.

"It's a crunch game for us, and it is for them too," said Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor.

"We certainly targeted this game. We're not taking them lightly. They're a quality side when the game gets going.

"We know we need to win this game. There are no grey areas there. We need a good performance."

Pakistan and West Indies are above the Irish on run rate, but they have played more games.

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