Sports starved cricket lovers are relishing any Cricket and West Indies' tour of England was a delight to watch . It definitely whetted the appetite of connoisseurs of quality cricket.
Ireland taking on England in ODIs isn't that appealing but it can prove to be an interesting matchup.
Is it even a contest?
Now we are awaiting today the start of three match ODI series between England and Ireland. Readers do not brush this series as one sided or a mismatch. In 50 overs any thing can happen.
I wish to take you to May 3 , 2019 Dublin . The last ODI played between England and Ireland.
England uprooted the middle order to skittle Ireland for 198.
Everyone thought that the match was over but Irish bowler Josh Little had other ideas. His four wickets for 45 runs rattled England. They were staring at defeat as they were 101 for 6.
On crease for England was the forgotten hero Ben Foakes, who had scored a century on debut in Sri Lanka as wicket keeper. He was joined by Tom Curran, a player known for playing in Big Bash for Sydney Sixers.
These two guided England to a tough win . Foakes scored 61 and Curran 47. So an improbable loss was turned into victory. Ireland must be remembering the loss and they will go all out to avenge it today.
England has given rest to Ben Stokes, Joss Buttler and the pace battery of Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. They are replaced by David Willey, Tom Curran and Reece Topley.
In batting it will be a delight to watch Tom Banton, the new sensation to be. It is nice to see Jason Roy back in team who also deserves his chances in Test cricket. He is too good a player to be left out.
Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are both back , they will frustrate the batting and choke them for runs.
So it is a balanced side but the pace department is not up to the mark which will allow Irish batsman to settle.
Andrew Balbirnie is the captain and he played a major role in securing a T20 World Cup berth for the Irish.
Pail Stirling is a dependable opener. I will be wishing to see Gareth Delany , who blasted his way in qualifiers. If he survives the first powerplay we have a match in our hands.
Middle order is bolstered by Will Porterfield and propped by Kevin O'Brien.
The lower order is nothing to write about. So if top order doesnot fire , Ireland is doomed.
In bowling, Boyd Rankin is an old warhorse. He is ably supported by Andy McBrine and Little. I am astonished that Tim Murtagh is not in side.
Indian-origin Simi Singh has established himself as an all-rounder for Ireland and should feature.
This pitch at the Rose Bowl in Southampton supports stroke play. Whichever team will win the toss will decide to bat first . Normally it is a 300+ venue.
Chasing a decent score is always tough in England - a phenomenon we witnessed at the 2019 World Cup
If England wins and makes 300+, they are assured of a win.
If Ireland bats first and they score around 250, England will win. In case they score 300+, then it will be a tough task for England to reach the target
Players to watch out for
England: Jason Roy, Tom Banton and 6 feet 7 inch bowler Reece Topley.
Ireland: Gareth Delany, Andy Balbirnie and debutant Harry Tector.
Featured image credits: ECB