Kevin o"Brien (left) celebrates with brother Niall after their historic win against England in the league match of the World Cup 2011 at Bangalore © Getty Images
Kevin O’Brien (left) celebrates with brother Niall after their historic win against England in the league match of the 2011 World Cup at Bangalore © Getty Images

Dublin: Ireland are among the most improved units in limited-overs cricket in recent years. While they have been among the top dogs among the associates, they have given the International Cricket Council (ICC) a reason to grant them Test status with their recent World Cup performances.

While Ireland staged their first major cricketing upset in the 2007 World Cup, beating Pakistan three wickets to shown them the exit in the group stage itself. Four years later, the spirited-Irish side rode on Kevin o’Brien‘s blistering century, the fastest in a World Cup, to chase a 328-run target down with three wickets and five balls to spare.

Ireland Squad for ICC World Cup 2015: William Porterfield (capt), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young

Coach: Phil Simmons

FixturesPool B:

Feb 16: West Indies, Nelson

Feb 25: UAE, Brisbane

Mar 03: South Africa, Canberra

Mar 07: Zimbabwe, Hobart

Mar 10: India, Hamilton

Mar 15: Pakistan, Adelaide

World Cup record:

2007: Super Eights

2011: Pool stage

Key player: Craig Young

With Boyd Rankin having opted for a career with England, Young has been given the chance to fill the void created by the giant paceman’s absence. The 24-year-old, who has been coached by former Australia fast bowler Craig McDermott, is capable of generating pace and bounce.

He took three wickets in each of his last two warm-up matches in the UAE earlier this month and is set to shoulder more responsibility in the absence of the injured Tim Murtagh.