India last played in Ireland in 2007 when they took on the hosts in an ODI at Belfast. India won that game by nine wickets (D/L method) with Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir putting on an unbeaten 162-run partnership for the second wicket. India have played Ireland just once in the T20 during the 2009 ICC World T20.
CricketNext takes a look at the five players to watch out for in the Ireland outfit:
Gary Wilson (Wicket-keeper/Batsman)
The captain of the Ireland team in the shortest format, Wilson is one of those players who has shown that he loves the responsibility of captaincy. While his three fifties in international T20s don’t do justice to his talent, covering for Graeme Smith at Surrey in 2014 he showed signs of improving as a batsman. Not the typical T20 player, he could play an important role in the middle-order against the top-quality India bowlers, especially if the conditions suit the faster bowlers. He will also be keeping wickets for Ireland and would want to keep a close eye on the strength and weaknesses of the Indian batsmen in order to guide his bowlers.
Kevin O'Brien (All-rounder)
O’Brien became a household name when he hit the English bowlers to all parts of the ground to bring up a 50-ball century in the 2011 World Cup and take Ireland home. He has grown from strength to strength and even on their Test debut against Pakistan, he hit a magnificent 118 to give them a major scare. It is now time for him to rise to the challenge of taking on Virat Kohli and his team of talented individuals who start as clear favourites. While he is yet to hit a fifty in T20 internationals, O’ Brien is known to rise to the occasion when the going gets tough.
William Porterfield (Batsman)
Relieved of leading the team in the shortest format, Porterfield will be focusing on giving the team the ideal start in the shortest format of the game. He is the highest run-getter for the team in both the ODI and T20I format and the experience of playing in 58 T20Is will definitely come in handy against the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. His form wasn’t good and he was even dropped by Warwickshire at the end of the 2017 season, but he has returned with a bang playing for North-West Warriors in the Cricket Ireland Inter-Provincial Championship as he hit a double hundred last week. He will want to continue the show in the T20Is against India.
Paul Stirling (Batsman)
The typical slam-bang modern-day batsman, the best part about Stirling is his consistency against the best in the business. He already has two centuries against Pakistan — an international team known for their bowling attack. In the T20I format as well, he has eight fifties and that comes as a huge boost for the minnows of international cricket. Making his debut for the national team at 17, he is again one of the players who has had a quality stint in county cricket. His experience against the English bowlers in seaming conditions will help his cause against the Indian bowlers. His straight hitting has helped him succeed even in trying conditions.
Boyd Rankin (Bowler)
At 6 ft 7 in, Rankin is undoubtedly one of the tallest in the business and the delivery from his high-arm action tends to take the batsmen by surprise. It could be a vital weapon for the pacer against the Indian batsmen who are not known to be the best players against the bouncing ball. The rise from the goodlength area will be a major concern when it comes to the stroke-makers in the team. He impressed first in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies as the team beat Pakistan and Bangladesh to qualify for the Super Eight round. Having played for England, Rankin does know a thing or two about competing against the big boys of the international league.
Boyd RankinGary Wilsonindia vs ireland 2018Ireland vs IndiaKevin O'BrienPaul Stirlingvirat kohliWilliam Porterfield
First Published: June 27, 2018, 12:08 PM IST