Third in the world plays 17th as Ireland host India in the first of two T20Is at Malahide on Wednesday. And with the Indians just settling into their tour, the Irish are sniffing another famous upset.
Ireland are fresh from a T20I tri-series with the Netherlands and Scotland, while most of India’s players have played just the Test match versus Afganistan since the IPL.
Gary Wilson’s team lost twice against their Dutch hosts before registering a win and a tie against Scotland as the new skipper and his side began to find some form.
Paul Stirling, in particular, will be feeling good, having hit half-centuries in both the games against Scotland. Wilson registered an aggregate of 128 runs and it will have pleased him to see George Dockrell return to form with six wickets at a 6.6 economy rate.
“We are trying to find answers but we are starting from almost nowhere; we are not a settled team, we don’t know what our best combinations are,” said Ireland head coach Graham Ford following the Netherlands series. “The pleasing thing is that there were signs of progress over the four games. I just wish we had a few more games so we could give a few guys a fair crack.”
For India it is the curtain-raiser to a long tour; these two T20Is will be followed by three T20Is, three one-day internationals and five Tests in England, plus tour matches.
They arrive unencumbered by major injury concerns, with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey and of course Virat Kohli a stellar cast from which to select.
India also boast the No.1 ranked ODI bowler Jasprit Bumrah, as well as the dangerous spin trio of Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Washington Sundar. How they play these spinners may go a long way to deciding the fate of Ireland and England’s batsmen in the limited-overs leg of the tour.
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