Preview: Ireland have task cut out against in-form Scotland
In what is the seventh match of the tournament, the Group B encounter will see Scotland push for a place in the Super 12s against Ireland, who look to bounce back after a loss against Zimbabwe.
Scotland outplayed West Indies in their tournament opener to set up a stunning win and will fancy their chances when they face Ireland. A win here will see the Scots move to pole position to seal a spot in the Super 12s. In Ireland, they face a side in transition in T20Is. They come on the back of a spirited display against Zimbabwe, a contest that was decided by the individual brilliance of Sikandar Raza.
Scotland have come a long way in this format. If they progress from their group, West Indies may not be the only team to suffer a setback. Such was their confidence while facing off against the two-time champions. The Scots have bowlers who can provide early breakthroughs and have a capable top order to boot.
On a different day, Ireland could have looked at a different result against Zimbabwe and the early dismissal of Paul Stirling put a big dent in the former’s chase. Creditably, they managed to battle hard and finish with a respectable total despite losing four wickets in the powerplay, taking encouraging signs ahead of their encounter against Scotland.
Scotland largely relied on opener George Munsey with the bat against New Zealand but it was their approach that stood out against West Indies. Left-arm spinner Mark Watt was a revelation and received good support from Brad Wheal, Josh Davey and Michael Leask. Ireland’s Josh Little has bowled one of the spells of the tournament so far and will look to build on that start in this contest as well. Ireland, though, have to use all their experience in their ranks to stop a pumped up Scotland side.
Spinners have been among the wickets and have been deployed as early as the powerplay. Mark Watt played a crucial hand in tying West Indies up in knots and it won’t come as a surprise to see Richie Berrington turn to the left-arm spinner to seize momentum and put the Irish batters under pressure.
Curtis Campher has slowly grown into one of the key figures in Irish cricket and is an asset with the bat and ball. If not among the wickets, Campher, along with the rest of the middle-order batters will have to do well to fill the void left by Kevin O’Brien
Scotland: George Munsey, Michael Jones, Michael Cross, Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Matt Watt, Josh Davey, Safyaan Sharif, Brad Wheal
Ireland: Paul Stirling, Andy Balbirnie, Lorcan Tucker, Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Simi Singh, Barry McCarthy, Josh Little
Dream XI Fantasy Picks
Captaincy Pick: George Munsey
George Munsey had a memorable outing against the West Indies as his 66-run knock helped Scotland achieve a rare victory against the Caribbean side. The southpaw smacked a total of nine fours during his 53-ball inning. Overall, he has struck 1383 T20I runs for Scotland in 52 innings at a strike rate of 143.61 and an average of 28.81.
Must-Have Pick: Joshua Little
Ireland’s Joshua Little has been in prolific form of late as he has picked up 18 wickets in his last seven white-ball matches. With 13 scalps in just five games, he finished as the joint second-highest wicket-taker in The Hundred 2022. In Ireland’s first match of the ongoing T20 World Cup, Little dismissed three Zimbabwean batters and gave away runs at a brilliant economy of just six.
Gareth Delany went for 21 runs in his short two-over spell against Zimbabwe. Also, he failed to pick up a single wicket against the African side. However, he scored 24 runs while batting at No. 7 to be his team’s joint second-highest run scorer in the innings. In total, the right-hander has scored 733 runs at an average of marginally less than 20 apart from picking up 29 wickets in 49 T20Is.
THIS IS THE BIG TIME!
Feel the buzz in the stands and see the best teams in the world play on the biggest stage of all.