Watching Netherlands hammer Oman at the Harare Sports Club today only highlighted the horror start that Ireland made at the World Cup qualifying tournament and why they will be flying home on Wednesday after the humiliating experience of battling it out for seventh and eighth place against Nepal on Tuesday.

If Ireland had batted to anywhere near their potential in that opening game against Oman and then won the last ball thriller against Scotland, they would have been in the mix for the second qualifying spot for this year’s finals in India.

Okay, Oman had nothing to play for on Monday against the Dutch but their massive total of 362 for seven exposed the Oman attack for what is is – to put it politely - below international standard.

On a much smaller ground in Bulawayo, Ireland could manage only 281 for seven in two overs more and Oman, a much better batting side, chased down the total with an embarrassing 11 balls and five wickets to spare.

All skipper Andrew Balbirnie could say after their facile victory over the USA in the first play-off game on Friday is “we want to go home with three wins and have a bit of confidence going into Scotland. It’ll be another pretty tough week but one that will be confident in after a good World Cup in the T20 format last year. We haven’t played too much this year yet but hopefully we can hit the ground running in Edinburgh.”

Ironically in the same post-match interview, he had said “if you don’t hit the ground running in these tournaments you are in big trouble and that's where we found ourselves last week”.  So nothing can be taken for granted.

Balbirnie also acknowledged that the (easiest) route to the 50-over World Cup was through the Super League where coming out on the right side of a number of those close finishes would have given Ireland one of the seven automatic qualifying spots, along with hosts India.

But the loss of 65 points (out of a possible 90) against Netherlands, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe - all away it should be noted - came back to haunt them, while the pattern of failing to close out matches against the weaker teams, virtually rendering their huge wins against the ‘big teams’ redundant, carried through to the Oman and Scotland matches here.

The faith shown by Balbirnie and head coach Heinrich Malan in their ‘first-choice’ XI must also be questioned. Although 14 of the 15-man squad have taken the field, only injury allowed Young into the side, after the group stages - he produced a man of the match performance - and it seems remarkable that the one batsman who is more used to conditions in Zimbabwe than anyone, PJ Moor, is the only player who has yet to get a game.

Nepal will be no push-overs on Tuesday so it is likely the “reserve batsman” will be left kicking his heels again and may have to wait until the Test match in December to play his first game for Ireland in his home country.

Whatever happens, there will be no heroes welcome in Dublin airport this week and maybe it’s just as well they have only a fortnight to wait before the majority of the squad return to international action in those T20 World Cup qualifiers in Scotland.

However, they failed to cope with the pressure of second favourites in their group in this tournament, they must make sure there is no false start against Italy on July 20. Failure to make two World Cups inside a month will leave even more questions to be answered.