It wasn’t supposed to be like this. When the Ireland squad flew out of New York on Friday evening for their three-hour flight to the Sunshine state, they had expected to be halfway to the Super Eights stage of the T20 World Cup.

India, first up, was always going to be a likely non-starter for points – made nigh impossible by having to bat first on a poor pitch - but Canada, the lowest ranked team in the group was their ‘must win’ game in the first round. How that backfired.

Another miserable batting performance – they lost six wickets for 59, on a better pitch, in pursuit of a victory target of 138, having lost eight for 50 for the first time in a T20I against India – left George Dockrell and Mark Adair with too much to do. Both reached 30 and threatened to pull the game out of the fire but a 12 runs defeat was a fair reflection of Friday’s match.

As Dockrell admitted afterwards: “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 smart, played better than us quite simply.

“It’s looking at how we do that in the next couple of games. But reading into one match might be a bit much.

“I thought we had a great last year or so as a team but that doesn’t really count for much if your’re not playing well in the right games. It doesn’t mean we’re a bad team, losing the match (to Canada), but it does mean we played bad cricket. We’ve got a couple more games and we’ve got to show what we can do when we play well.”

Those games are against the United States on Friday and Pakistan next Sunday in Fort Lauderdale – surely on a better surface - but Ireland’s perilous situation at the bottom of the group after the first four games is worsened by the hosts defeating Pakistan in a Super Over after a tied match.

It means Ireland can only finish level on points with the Americans so will likely need a huge win on Friday and then a repeat of their victory in the first of the three-match series against Pakistan in Clontarf last month.

There has been little to offer hope that Ireland can turn things round and, worryingly, the top seven in the line-up is set in stone with no hint that Ross Adair, for example, will get a look-in. And their two best batters are struggling for runs.

Captain Paul Stirling has only two scores of more than 11 in his last eight innings – although the positive is that a big innings is surely round the corner – and Harry Tector’s string of low scores in this format has continued on the world stage.

The bowling line-up is more fluid but here too it seems to be pick and hope. Mark Adair, selected in the T20I Team of the Year in 2023 - is the one dependable, taking wickets up front and keeping it tight at the death.

His opening partner, Josh Little continues to be frustratingly inconsistent although playing only one match out of 10 at the Indian Premier League can have done his confidence no good, never mind his lack of match action. He was wicketless in his eight overs in New York, on a helpful pitch for bowlers, and conceded 79 runs.

Craig Young was surprisingly left out against India but reappeared against Canada at the expense of Ben White who had dismissed IPL star Surakumar Yadav in his only over two days earlier.

We shall wait and see what combination is chosen in Florida.

But, as results have shown in the first week of this World Cup, nothing can be predicted in T20 cricket and that is Ireland’ best - actually only – hope of getting anything from this tournament.