Ireland Vs England
Starting time: 2:30 pm IST
Bangalore, March 2: Ireland will want to regain that lethal tendency which aids it in its bid to overpower bigger teams. The last time they experienced such was when they shut the door on Pakistan in the World Cup 2007. Now they take on their not-so-friendly neighbours England, four years on. England is coming off a intense tied match with India while Ireland is emerging from a relatively narrow defeat against Bangladesh. While England will be looking to regain that winning touch, Ireland will be more than eager to force the first upset of the tournament.
It latter won't be easy, especially going by Ireland's 0:3 head-to-head with England. But the Irish should derive inspiration from the fact that the margins of defeat in those encounters haven't been large. In 2006, when both sides first met in a one-day fixture, England won by 38 runs. A year later, the team from Ole Blight reached home by 48 runs. But in the last encounter, Ireland lost by a mere 3 runs! In that match, England scored a less than modest 203/9. The untimely intervention of rain reduced Ireland's target to 116 off 20 overs, with the underdog team managing to put 112 runs on the board in that time.
Going into the big game on Wednesday, Ireland's strength is quite clearly their bowling. Spinner Andre Botha ensnared 3/32 against the Bangaldeshis while George Dockrell pitched in with 2/23 and paceman Trent Johnson, with 2/40. Of course, the Irish batting line up would have to perform exceptionally well and not leave a bulk of the work to the O'Brien brothers, who scored 75 between them at Mirpur last week.
England captain and opening batsman Andrew Strauss is clearly the trump card for his side, fresh from a substantial 88 off 81 balls against the Netherlands and a fabulous Man-of-the-Match winning 158 off 145 balls against India. Ian Bell, who sports an average of over 50 in the tournament so far will also be someone to look out for. Of course, it all depends who click for England, from amidst their vast resources, on the day. Off-break Graeme Swann who had a poor last game, but took 2/35 against the Netherlands, may be eager to wreak some vital damage against Ireland.
All in all, it should be an enthralling and fascinating fixture on Wednesday, March 2, at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. Will the fighting Irish overpower the might English or will this neck of the cricketing World Order remain unchanged?