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World T20 2021: Ireland begin quest in view of stamping authority

The Ireland side has been one of the two sides apart from Afghanistan in world cricket who has been attaining success in the past few years. They were granted the Test status in 2017, are considered to be a decent unit as far as T20 format is concerned and comprise of some brilliant players in the line up.

They will now be battling it out in the World T20 2021 and will play the first match against Netherlands in Abu Dhabi on Monday (October 18, 2021). The Irish team is one of the eight teams who are playing the preliminary round of the tournament. 

The teams have been divided into two groups of four and the top two sides from each group will go into the Super 12s stage. Apart from the Netherlands, their group has Sri Lanka and Namibia as well. 

But moving further, let’s just take a look at Ireland’s recent run in the T20I format. They suffered series defeats against UAE and South Africa respectively earlier this year. 

While Ireland played UAE away from home, their locked horns with the Proteas on the home soil. But they did taste some success after beating Zimbabwe in home fixtures. 

While the form was a bit of concern for them coming into the World T20, the Ireland team would have taken a sigh of relief after clinching victories in the warm-up matches against Bangladesh and PNG. More than the wins, it was about the margins by which they defeated the opponents. 

Ireland thumped PNG by 8 wickets after chasing down a target of 97 with 20 balls to spare and then grabbed a comprehensive 33-run win against Bangladesh after defending a target of 178 quite successfully. 

They had put up an all round show during the practice games and would look to continue the form when the side takes the centre stage. 

Team News

Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie sparked an injury concern after he suffered a toe injury during a game against UAE on October 10. 

Later, the X-ray had ruled out the possibility of any fracture but the team management had begun the intensive training. He in fact scored an unbeaten 42 against PNG on October 12 in the warm-up match. 

Experienced campaigners

The Ireland contingent has some prominent names in the line up who have played a lot of cricket. Paul Stirling, George Dockrell, Andrew Balbirnie, and Kevin O’Brien are some of the names on whom the team would bank upon. Ireland have been known for causing some major upsets in big tournaments. 

They defeated Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2007 ODI World Cup, no one can really forget that knock from Kevin that he unleashed against England in the 2011 ODI World Cup and stole away a win from the jaws of defeat from his side. 

Later, in the 2015 edition of 50-over World Cup, they achieved a win against West Indies. While they have left a mark in ODI World Cups, Ireland are still looking to stamp authority in World T20. In fact, Kevin O’Brien admitted that the side needs to win games in the World T20. 

“We've had a lot more success and our big victories have been in the 50-over tournament," he had said. 

"But you look back at when we beat Bangladesh in 2009 at Trent Bridge you have still had victories at T20, but lately the ones that stand out are the results we have been on the wrong side of,” he added. 

So with a lot of experience under their belt and a hunger to prove themselves in World T20s, Ireland would be looking to take the field.

Blessing in disguise

It is generally said that an individual shouldn’t really be a “jack of all trades but master of none”. But for Ireland, this could very well work as they have a bunch of players who can make vital and valuable contributions with both bat and ball. 

Moreover, the amount of all-rounders brings a lot to the table for them. Apart from this, the Irish unit has a number of spinners and medium pacers and considering the venues where the team will play in Abu Dhabi and UAE, they might extract something from the track. 

Full Squad: Andrew Balbirnie (captain), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young.

Reserve players: Shane Getkate, Graham Kennedy, Barry McCarthy 

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