The Equation for Ireland could not be simpler at the Queen’s Club in Bulawayo tomorrow: beat tournament favourites Sri Lanka in their third match of the World Cup qualifiers or start packing for home.

The outside chance of reaching for Super Six with only one win - as Afghanistan did before going on to qualify five years ago - disappeared yesterday (FRI) when Scotland beat the United Arab Emirates by 111 runs to claim a second victory.

Oman, who lost to by Sri Lanka by 10 wickets, also have two chalks on the board, so Ireland must somehow conquer a team they have never beaten in any format and then the UAE, in their final match.

Oddly enough, a victory over Sri Lanka, no matter how unlikely, would put the Boys in Green not only in a strong position the reach the Super Six on nett run rate, but also to make a dart at the big prize of a place at the World Cup in India later this year.

Why? Because Sri Lanka are likely to be one of the three teams that goes through from Group B, and Ireland’s victory would therefore count in the second stage.

Ifs, buts and maybes are all Andy Balbirnie’s men have left after two shocking defeats by Oman and Scotland, and in the form they have shown since arriving in Zimbabwe you wouldn’t put a mate’s euro on them beating the group’s whipping boys on Tuesday.

Skipper Balbirnie’s trot of failures with the bat - 0, 0, 2, 2, 12, 2, 7 and Wednesday’s first baller against Scotland - is just one of the team’s problems, not being able to defend scores of 281 and 286 in successive games is arguably more worrying.

Josh Little has not looked the same bowler who left to reap riches in the IPL in April, either in the three ODIs against Bangladesh last month or in these qualifiers, and Balbirnie doesn’t seem to know the best way to use the four spinners he has at his disposal.

Indeed, he failed to use Gareth Delany at all against Scotland, while fellow leggie Ben White bowled a full quota of 10 overs, conceding 59 runs for the second time in two games, while the more consistently more frugal Andy McBrine was also under used.

The skipper is hoping the three days off between games will have refreshed his side.

“The guys probably needed a break, to take their minds off it,” Balbirnie said. “After losing two games so quickly it’s a big uphill task for us and we have to get our heads round having to win two games to hopefully get through.”