IRELAND’S cricketers dusted themselves down and got out of Gotham City as quick as they could yesterday, the LCD Soundsystem song ‘New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’ on everyone’s lips.

The Big Apple wasn’t kind to the team, a potentially successful campaign yielding two dispiriting defeats and a zero in the Group A points column. To qualify for the Super Eights they must now beat the USA and Pakistan in Florida next weekend, and hope India win their three remaining games and Pakistan beat Canada.

That is not a ludicrous scenario – and even then the US could still pip Ireland on net run rate – but the whole thing really depends on a side that has so far failed to show what it can do with bat and ball suddenly rediscovering form.

It piles more pressure on the side already disillusioned by this chaotically-organised global showpiece event. Ireland played six games to qualify for the tournament, practiced hard on good pitches and played an extensive programme of warm-up games before getting here. But after all that effort and investment they were presented with a schedule which required them to play a warm-up in Miami, fly to New York for two games and on to Fort Lauderdale for two more. That total of 3,454 airmiles isn’t too bad compared to poor Bangladesh’s 10,000, but when you see that India will fly 1,700, only changing base once, Australia 1,200 and England 505, you start to understand the two-tier World Cup.

The flight out of Miami was the start of the nightmare: an eight-hour delay at the airport meant they arrived in NY in the middle of the night and to a hotel 90 minutes from the ground. The practice facilities provided were dismal, and they were not permitted to train at the stadium before their first game, although opponents India were.

The pitch was dire, balls pitched on the same length alternating between arriving at knee height or over the shoulder and with inches of movement sideways. With India’s battery of 90+mph bowlers that made batting almost impossible. Ireland’s leading ODI batsman Harry Tector was hit flush on his thumb three times, getting out on the third occasion.

Had the shoe been on the other foot and Paul Stirling called the toss correctly, the sight of Virat Kohli being put in such peril would have led to the convening of an emergency meeting of the Board of Cricket Control of India. Had the Delhi demi-god cracked a finger India would have insisted the rest of their games be moved to Florida.

And while the pitch made the game a lottery, the Indian bowlers showed great skill to exploit it, something Ireland failed to do in two outings. All that was required was to bang the ball in on a hard length, which was the Irish gameplan, but most of the bowlers failed to execute it consistently.

It’s too early to tell, but the group tables hint at a reshuffle in the world order. The four top-spots are filled by the USA, Scotland and Afghanistan, with South Africa tied with Netherlands in Group 4.

The hosting of the World Cup and success to date has led to a rush in American media interest, with many TV slots and newspaper features explaining this hitherto arcane sport. The locals are certainly in a confident mood with many US and Canadian players having plenty of experience in franchise T20 leagues under the belt. And the north American players will start to attract attention – and even contracts – if they keep up their excellent start.

Ireland’s George Dockrell praised the Canada players that restricted Ireland to just two boundaries in the first 15 overs on Friday: ‘They played really good cricket. They bowled in areas that made it tough for us to score and we didn’t put the pressure back on them enough. We did show in patches that it was possible to get boundaries away but we didn’t do it consistently enough and that left us with too much to do at the end.’

He also refused to acknowledge his team had become a bad one overnight: ‘They just played better. It was across all three aspects. They fielded well, they kept to their plans with the ball and even with the bat they were quite calculated with how they scored off us. I thought they were quite smart, played better than us quite simply. It’s looking at how we can do that in the next couple of games. It is disappointing but reading into one match might be a bit much.

‘We’ve had a great last year or so as a team, but that doesn’t really count for much if you’re not playing well in the right games. Losing the match today doesn’t mean we’re a bad team, but it does mean we played bad cricket today. We’ve got a couple more games here and we’ve got to show what we can do when we play well.’