Big upsets and top performances from a rising force – Ireland tournament review
Most runs – Lorcan Tucker (204)
Most wickets – Josh Little (11)
What went right
Big players turned up when it mattered for Ireland.
The top three all scored runs in the crunch games, with Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker and Andrew Balbirnie producing key knocks at crucial times of the tournament.
And with the ball it was Josh Little who shrugged off the pressure of being Ireland’s main man and delivered, taking 11 wickets in the tournament and getting some top players out.
Those individual performances played a crucial role in the huge results that made this a successful tournament for Ireland.
Victory over West Indies in the First Round was richly-deserved on the balance of play, and secured a spot in the Super 12 stage that would have been Ireland’s aim prior to the tournament. It’s worth noting that the convincing win over Scotland was also an example of the Irish stepping up when it counted – a loss in that game would have effectively ended their World Cup.
And while rain did play a part, the win over England in Group 1 guaranteed that this tournament will be one that Ireland look back on extremely fondly. They outplayed their higher-ranked neighbours with bat and ball, never looking to be out of control.
What went wrong
Ireland’s disappointment will be that they struggled to remain competitive when the ideal game plan didn’t work.
When the top three got in and set a platform then things were fine, as they were when Little took Powerplay wickets.
But Ireland struggled to make an impact when Plan A didn’t work, and the losses against Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand were disappointingly uncompetitive.
What does the future hold?
The emergence of Little (23) and Tucker (26) as star players for Ireland is a big boost to what had looked like an ageing squad.
Those two could feature for Ireland for another decade, and the standard of Ireland’s youth cricket hints that there is plenty more talent being developed.
It’s also a massive boost to Ireland that the Netherlands managed to finish in the top four in Group 2. The Dutch securing one of the automatic spots at the next T20 World Cup removes some of the competition for places in what had threatened to be an extremely tough European qualification process.
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