West Indies will meet Ireland in the group B decider on 24th September at the R.Premadasa Stadium at Colombo. Both sides have lost their first game to Australia and need a win in their final fixture against each other to advance to the super 8’s as the second team from Group B.
While Ireland were thoroughly beaten in all the departments of the game by Australia, West Indies lost due to a poor showing in the field after posting a total of 191. Ireland may have been outclassed by Australia but will look at their game against West Indies as another chance to advance to the next stage in the tournament. They may have not gone too far in the ICC World Cup last year but beating a stronger side is not new for this bunch of spirited cricketers.
Having seen the West Indian bowling attack crumbling apart against the Aussies, the best bet for Ireland will be to win the toss and put them in to bat and look to chase down whatever comes their way. They can take a few tips from Afghanistan who came agonizingly close to causing an upset in their game against India. William Porterfield won the toss and elected to bat against Australia and paid the price for it and should ideally be looking to chase a target against the Windies and eventually a berth in the super 8s.
As far as the Windies are concerned, their concentration will be on their bowling and fielding. Darren Sammy will be worried by the fact that his bowlers failed to pick wickets on a regular basis and also gave away few too many runs for them to have a chance on D/L method after the side put up 191 on the board. Although Ireland do not boast of a batting line-up as superior as Australia, a do-or-die game often brings the best out of any team.
Players to watch
The O’Brien brothers: If it does come down to chasing a total, the O’Brien brothers will be the most crucial players for Ireland. In the game against Australia, they were fearless and went after the bowling before throwing their wickets away. In a do-or-die situation, they have the ability to pull their team out of a tough situation.
George Dockrell: If I were the captain of the Irish side, I would throw the new ball into the hands of this 20-year old and ask him to have a go at Chris Gayle in the very first over of the game. Gayle has the tendency to wait and get his eye in for an over before switching to his usual freak mode. If Dockrell can turn the ball a bit and skid a rare one through, Gayle could be in trouble as he seldom is seen coming down to a delivery that keeps low. It will be a gamble, but one that will be worth taking.
Chris Gayle: It will take this man to stay on the crease for not more than 6-8 overs to put the game beyond Ireland’s reach. Chris Gayle’s murderous form continued against the Aussies and he is going to be merciless against the Irish bowlers.
Sunil Narine: Darren Sammy will expect his mystery spinner to run through Ireland’s batting order which isn’t too comfortable playing against spin. With a lot variations and multiple tricks up his sleeve, his spell of four overs could prove to be the toughest for the Irish batsmen.
Prediction: Ireland is very hard working and an exciting side, one that can ruffle a few feathers in a major tournament like this. Yet they don’t seem to have the fire power to overcome a stern test that the Windies could pose. Many will even expect Darren Sammy and his boys to cruise to a comfortable victory but I believe Ireland will give them a run for their money and go back home with their heads held high.