WC qualifier final today
Ireland will lack star batsman Eoin Morgan whey they face Canada here on Sunday in the 2011 Cricket World Cup Qualifier final.
Team manager Roy Torrens told AFP Ireland and English county team Middlesex struck a deal that Morgan would stay with his country until they qualified for the 2011 World Cup.
That happened last Wednesday when Morgan was the second highest Irish scorer with 76 runs as they cruised to a six-wicket triumph over the Netherlands and sealed a second consecutive Cup appearance.
Morgan sat out a surprise loss to fellow qualifiers Kenya on Friday and was scheduled to leave South Africa 24 hours later after playing a pivotal role in the "green machine" successes.
Torrens said the other 14 players were available for the showdown at Test venue Centurion Park and raring to confront Canada despite a gruelling 19-day tournament staged in mainly hot conditions.
"A third of our squad are full-time cricketers and the others worked really hard ahead of the tournament so they have stood up well to the exacting South African conditions," said Torrens.
Ireland defeated Canada by six wickets in the first round two weeks ago with Kevin O'Brien (89) and Morgan (84) the heroes after an early collapse left the team four wickets down with just 42 runs on the board.
"We have played Canada quite a lot lately and had the upper hand, but the matches tend to be close. My boys consider themselves the best team at this tournament and want to prove it tomorrow," Torrens said.
Canada lost star batsman John Davison to injury early in the Qualifier and proved unpredictable in the Super 8 phase where they were the only team to defeat Afghanistan, but crashed to lowly United Arab Emirates.
India-born captain Ashish Bagai conceded his squad was tired after the tournament and extensive preparations under former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Pubudu Dassanayake in his homeland.
"We have played consistently and although World Cup qualification was our primary goal, it is natural that we want to win the final. There is enough stamina for one last effort," assured Bagai.
In play-off matches, Kenya face Netherlands for third place, 2005 Qualifier winners Scotland meet fairytale side Afghanistan for fifth and Namibia play UAE for seventh.