T20 World Cup - Ireland Preview
Ireland the side who's done so well in all their appearances on the big stage. Many people will expect another Test scalp when they take the field in Colombo, Sri Lanka. However with fewer matches, two only in the group stages. This will be more difficult, however Ireland are fastly becoming a side capable of beating anyone.
Ireland has players who are becoming big names in the world of cricket. With a lot of pressure on Kevin O'Brien to repeat, or to come close to his heroics in Bangalore. When he smashed a century from only fifty balls. He went onto score a 44-ball century for his side Gloucestershire. To post the highest total in domestic T20 cricket, Ireland will be hopeful of more of this to come.
While his brother Niall(wk) who is back in the side as a specialist batsman. He will also have a chance to fight the gloves back from Ireland's newest keeper. Gary Wilson(wk) will be the more unknown of the players. He was one of the main heroes during the qualifiers to get Ireland to the world cup. He scored 238 runs, with an average of 39.66 at a strike rate of 115.53.
Although Ireland's trump card is with a young 21-year old batsman called Paul Stirling. He provides a real power house at the top of the order. He will not hold anything back, while he is also a very capable spinner. Which will come very handy in the conditions he will face. He scored 357 runs in the qualifiers, at an average of 44.62 with a blistering strike rate of 157.26. While also picking up 9 wickets at an average of 18.55, with an economy of 5.56 at a strike rate of 20.0
Ireland's trump card with the ball, will come from the young 20 year old spinner George Dockrell.
His record for bowling in T20is is quite brilliant. Especially during the qualifiers, picking up 13 wickets. With an average of 16.46 and an economy of 6.14, at a strike rate of only 16. Whilst these conditions will come to his liking. Expect Ireland to challenge, should his name come appear in the wickets column.
Now with Boyd Rankin setting his aim for Test cricket with England. This will be likely his last outing in a world cup environment with Ireland. However being the professional he is, we expect Boyd will put his best foot forward.
Whilst the wickets in Colombo won't favour Rankin much. His 6ft'7 frame and his pace will still be likely to cause a lot of batsman considerable trouble. He often was inconsistent for Ireland, however it appears he's turned a corner. During the qualifiers he picked up 15 wickets. With an average of only 11.06, with an economy as little as 4.25 at a strike rate of 15.6.
While the last player I will have a look at is Ireland's veteran Trent Johnston. This is very likely to be his last appearance at a world cup for Ireland. Although it's for very different reasons then Rankin. Johnston is due to retire shortly after the world cup. Although he has shown signs of staying till the end of the 2015 world cup qualifiers.
Johnston picked up 13 wickets himself with an economy of 5.91 at an average of 16.84. Johnston is very measly with the runs he concedes. His bowling is tight and he won't give anything up without a fight for it. His change of pace and varieties will be vital in conditions that will demand it.
Ireland is a side that has become known for it's fighting spirit, it's grit and determination to the very end. Ireland's fielding is among the best in the world, if not the best fielding in the world. Ireland's main problem is their weakness against spin. While they posess a few players who are talented players of spin, it will fall upon those to hold the side together.
Ireland face Australia and the West Indies, neither side that will succumb to Ireland easily. However Ireland needn't fear them, they have the capabilites to beat both sides.
With Ireland to face the spin threats of Narine and Hogg. While also facing the awesome arsenal of Gayle, Warner, Bravo to name a few.
Ireland doesn't fear anyone, if they can overcome one of these sides then they open endless possibilities.
Ireland's side is a good mix of aggression mixed with a dose of calmness. Plenty of medium pace bowlers with one particular aggressor. While it also holds tricky, plucky spin options.
Likely Ireland XI