Minnows battle for Super Eight

THE preliminaries are almost over and the minnows are being rapidly thrown back.

Afghanistan and Zimbabwe have already been dispatched from the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka - now it is a wait to see who joins them.

You can be sure that Ireland and Bangladesh will not go without a fight.

The battle to make the Super Eight stage of the tournament is far from over and Ireland and Bangladesh still have a big say in deciding matters.

Australia's 17-run win over the Windies on the Duckworth/Lewis scoring system in the rain shortened game in Colombo on Saturday secured George Bailey's team a place in the final eight.

A heavy downpour interrupted the Australians' charge towards their 192 target when they were 1-100, 17 runs ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis target after 9.1 overs.

All-rounder Shane Watson, the man of the match in Australia's opening triumph over Ireland, was once again in full flow, unbeaten on 41 from 24 deliveries when the heavens opened.

The Windies had earlier posted eight for 191 in which opener Chris Gayle smashed 54 off 33 balls - including five fours and four sixes.

After beating Ireland and the Windies, Australia will now play three matches in the Super Eights, beginning with a clash against India on Friday.

South Africa, who beat Sri Lanka Sri Lanka by 32 runs in game reduced to seven overs a side because of rain on Saturday, are also in Australia's group.

Pakistan should complete the line-up providing they beat Bangladesh tomorrow (11.45pm AEST).

Defending champion, England, and India, who played a dead rubber overnight, and New Zealand are already through in the other group.

Despite the defeat against the Aussies, the Windies, tipped by many pundits as a possible tournament winner, are still in contention, but they can't afford to slip up in a winner-takes-all clash against Ireland tonight (11.45pm AEST).

Irish batsman Ed Joyce said he and his team-mates were not about to back down playing against the Windies, who are ranked fourth in the world in T20.

"There's no doubt that they have world class players in Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, who on their day are amongst the most destructive in Twenty20 cricket," the former England ODI representative said. "We know we didn't do ourselves justice against Australia, but we have a chance to rectify that against the Windies and we intend to take it."

The top two teams from each Super Eights group will contest the semi-finals ahead of the final on October 7.

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