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Alex Cusack expected to be fit for World Cup Qualifier

Updated: Tuesday, 19 Mar 2013 16:46 | Comments

Alex Cusack didn't suffer a fracture as was initially feared
Alex Cusack didn't suffer a fracture as was initially feared

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Ireland can move a step nearer to World Cup qualification tomorrow when they take on the UAE in a crucial encounter in the desert heat of Sharjah.

A win for William Porterfield's troops would leave Ireland on the brink of their third successive World Cup adventure.

Ireland’s victory against the same opponents yesterday has seen them open up a four-point lead in the qualifying table with just five matches remaining.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons is confident that injury-doubt Alex Cusack will be passed fit to play.

It was feared that the Clontarf all-rounder may have suffered a fractured finger in his left hand while attempting a return catch from UAE top scorer Swapnil Patil during Monday's five-wicket win.

However Simmons revealed that the news on Cusack was not as bad as initially feared, confirming he just suffered bruising

"It's obviously a massive game for us and it would be a fantastic tour if we came away from here with four points" - William Porterfield

Simmons said: "Alex had an x-ray scan on his finger at the hospital after the game last night, and it showed that there was no break, just bad bruising."

"He's been having treatment with the physio Declan Norris today, and we'll have a look again in the morning and make a decision then. I'd be confident he'll be fit to play."

Cusack was Ireland's most successful bowler in their victory yesterday, but if he doesn't make it Ireland captain William Porterfield isn't too concerned as he feels there's plenty of depth in a strong Ireland squad.

Porterfield said: "We have plenty of options with Andrew White and his all-round abilities, and Tum Murtagh who bowled exceptionally well in the four-day game. James Shannon can also bowl off-breaks and is a very talented batsmen so we have plenty of cover in the squad."

With Ireland possibly just two wins away from automatic World Cup qualification, the 28-year-old skipper outlined the importance of tomorrow's match: "It's obviously a massive game for us and it would be a fantastic tour if we came away from here with four points.

"UAE have shown just how difficult a proposition they are in their home conditions with two wins each against Scotland and Afghanistan. I'm certain they'll come back hard at us and we've got to up our game by 15-20 per cent which I think we've got in the tank," Porterfield added.

Ireland currently lead the WCLC table on 15 points, four points ahead of nearest challengers Scotland and Afghanistan, both of whom have 11.

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