ADELAIDE - Andrew Balbirnie was in school when Ireland memorably shocked Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. He was back in the development squad when Ireland made more runs than Pakistan and yet tied an ODI in Dublin in May 2014. On Sunday, he will be part of a team that bids fair to make it to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 quarterfinals. "I watched that match on the telly.

I was in school. Obviously, that was a starting point in Irish cricket. It was a great day," Balbirnie, now 24, told reporters at the Adelaide Oval. He was recalling the St Patrick's Day defeat of Pakistan at Kingston, Jamaica in 2007. "We have come a long way since then and, hopefully, can repeat it on Sunday."

Ireland, who beat the West Indies, Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates, can ensure themselves a place in the play-offs from Group B with a victory over Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday. The West Indies will sneak through with a better net run rate if the two teams finish with six points each but may have to head home if they tie on points with Pakistan.

"We can't go into the game, fearing any bowlers. We will come out to the park with the right intent," Balbirnie said when asked if the team had made any special plans to counter the Pakistan bowlers who have appeared to come into their own and spearheaded their campaign to get to the play-offs. "We will plan for this game like we do for any other game."

Indeed, he now prepares for the biggest game in Irish history as the team seeks qualification on its own steam.

"Every game in the World Cup is big.

It has been a long World Cup but we have to win this game. It will be the biggest game that I am going to play. We hope to play more of these in the coming years," he said. "We'll keep knocking on the door until we bang it down."

Having forced his way into the squad with compelling batting in Ireland's tour of Australia and New Zealand last season, Balbirnie got himself a place in the XI with a good showing against Bangladesh in a warm-up game. He scored half-centuries against South Africa and Zimbabwe, missing out on a hundred by three runs, to be the second highest run-maker for Ireland so far.