Ireland hope to spring surprise as India begin their campaign - Cricket News | Cricket Updates | Match Report


Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Ireland hope to spring surprise as India begin their campaign

 India have won all their 7 T20Is against Ireland

India have won all their 7 T20Is against Ireland © Getty

When the Indian team steps onto the Nassau County Cricket Stadium in Long Island on Wednesday morning, they will be greeted by hoardings proclaiming the Twenty20 World Cup, alongside the stadium's signboards. The Indian team might well interpret these as ominous signs from beneath the banners: "Caution: Danger Ahead."

Following the pitch fracas of Tuesday's match between South Africa and Sri Lanka, unpredictability has swiftly become the defining element of the matches of this World Cup, at least the ones of the New York leg. For the Indian side, this would well be a journey into the unknown, more like a game of Russian Roulette than a conventional cricket contest. South Africa will vouch for this.

While on paper, Ireland are not an opposition that can give sleepless nights to India but the uncertainty of the pitch conditions has added a new dimension to the contest. It nullifies the experience and the strengths of the Indian side. Despite recent victory over Pakistan and the triumph over eventual champions England in the last World Cup, the Paul Stirling-led team may find Indians to be an inexhaustible force, against whom they have never won in their seven face-offs. But it is unlikely to be a straightforward contest, unless the drop-in pitch, prepared in Florida with expertise imported from South Australia, plays true. Ireland, though, would hope it won't.

If India's worry is the unpredictability of the surface, unfamiliarity is the concern for the Irish side. With practice facilities arranged elsewhere in the Long Island, the Irish are yet to officially make an entry into the Nassau County Stadium. "We haven't actually seen the ground and it doesn't look like we're going to before the game," skipper Paul Stirling told Cricket Europe.

Rahul Dravid chose not to disclose the much-debated opening combination of the side, but it is most likely to be Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, with left-right batsmen following as the situation demands. India may have initially planned to go in with two left-arm spinners, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, along with wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav. However, after the experience of Tuesday's game, they may opt for an extra pacer instead of an additional spinner. This would bring both Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh into the lineup, with Axar Patel possibly having to wait for his turn. As is often the case with the Indian team setup, something Dravid himself would say, one spot remains up for debate - and it's a potential toss-up between Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shivam Dube. It is more likely to be Dube, as he adds depth to the bowling attack.

Ireland is known for playing fearless cricket, but the Indians are accustomed to such approaches, having just come off a highly competitive and adventurous two-month-long IPL. The contest may not see 200-plus totals like in the IPL matches; a score of 170-180 could be a winning total, unless the pitch has ideas of its own.

When: India vs Ireland, June 05, 10:30 AM Local, 8 PM IST

Where: Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, New York

What to expect: It's the million-dollar question that neither Rohit Sharma, captain of India, nor Paul Sterling, the captain of Ireland, would have a clue about after witnessing what happened in the Sri Lanka and South Africa game. Both teams and spectators would hope that the drop-in pitch does not misbehave as it did in Sri Lanka's six-wicket defeat. Setting aside the unpredictability of the pitch, this should be a contest that India comfortably wins. One thing to look forward to is who will open for India with Rohit - Virat Kohli or Yashasvi Jaiswal?

Head to Head:India 7 - 0 Ireland. The only previous meeting in T20 World Cups have come in 2009 in Trent Bridge where India won by eight wickets. Rohit Sharma is the sole survivor from that game.

Team Watch

India: Rahul Dravid remained tight-lipped, keeping his cards close to his chest, indicating his desire to maintain suspense until the start of the game. While the opening partnership remains a mystery, another significant selection dilemma revolves around choosing between Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh as the second pacer alongside Jasprit Bumrah. Hardik Pandya is expected to serve as the third pacer and a sixth bowling option. Furthermore, both left-arm spinners, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, are likely to feature, along with Kuldeep Yadav.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, Shivam Dube, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh.

Ireland: Coach Heinrich Malan wants his players to believe that they can beat India. The Irish are known to surprise favourites, something they did in the last Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in 2022 when they beat eventual champions England. They beat Pakistan less than a month ago and their ability to surprise the strong opponents is something India must be wary of. Wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker is a dangerous player.

Probable XI: Andy Balbirnie, Paul Stirling (c), Lorcan Tucker, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy, Craig Young/Ben White, Josh Little

Did you know?

- Since the last T20 World Cup, India have played 28 T20Is. The four senior players - Rohit Sharma (3), Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah (2 games each) - have largely been missing from these contests

- Virat Kohli averages 81.50 in T20 World Cups, scoring at a strike rate of 131.30. In run-chases his average goes up to 270.50

What they said

"In a Playing XI and in a T20 game, there'll always be that one or two slots that you might make the odd change. In general, we are quite settled with a combination in our heads, though I haven't announced it or I haven't said it. You know, honestly, we are very clear about the direction we're going in, the direction we're going in, but we've picked a squad, you know, that allows us to maybe make those one or two changes based on the condition" - Rahul Dravid on the India XI for the game

"It will be the morning of the match when we decide - I think because we haven't actually seen the ground yet. I think we've got to sort of keep everyone waiting on that front, but we're probably down to 12 or 13 if we're going to be honest. But we won't make the final call without seeing what we've got to play on." - Paul Stirling on Ireland XI

No comments:

Post a Comment