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England vs Ireland 2020: Drawing board awaits fidgety visitors

Ireland went far ahead of themselves and quickly lost the plot.
Ireland went far ahead of themselves and quickly lost the plot.
Aryan Surana
ANALYST
Modified 31 Jul 2020, 14:39 IST
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There was no shortage of moments that encapsulated Ireland's misery during the one-day series opener against England. But none was more symptomatic of their plight than Simi Singh committing hara-kiri.

The off-spinner pushed Adil Rashid's drifter straight to Tom Banton at cover point and took off for a quick single, least bothered about his partner's consent. The only discrepancy though was that there wasn't the slightest chance of the run being completed.

Even Usain Bolt on steroids would have fallen a yard short. Nonetheless, Singh felt otherwise and ended up selling himself down the river.

Nobody in their right mind would have bet on Ireland pummeling the hosts into submission. In fact, that is seldom the expectation from minnows.

However, given their never-say-die attitude, many believed that they'd at least show the stomach for a fight.

Ireland batsmen were a bundle of nerves in the middle.
Ireland batsmen were a bundle of nerves in the middle.

However, rather often, reality doesn't quite match the hype and anticipation is generally followed by disappointment. Barring Curtis Campher's valiant 59, Ireland's abject surrender with the bat left their fans and perhaps their team management with more than a furrowed brow.

Inadequate dynamism costs Ireland dearly

Five of Ireland's top six batsmen perished rather sheepishly. Paul Stirling couldn't wrap his head around David Willey's guile with the new ball while Andrew Balbirnie went for the glory drive only to offer Jonny Bairstow some lovely catching practice. And, Harry Tector chopped one onto his stumps to join an elite club of batsmen to have bagged a golden duck on debut.

Lorcan Tucker had no answers to Willey's in-swinger whereas Kevin O'Brien found long-off with a tame lofted shot.

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Though Gareth Delany grabbed a few eyeballs with a couple of mesmerizing back foot punches, his unchecked swish to backward point did little to arrest the slide. Had it not been for Campher's lion-hearted vigil, Ireland seemed destined to collapse well before reaching three figures.

This kind of extreme ineptitude is a culmination of numerous factors- lack of preparation, dearth of talent, pressure threshold and last but not least, inexperience.

Ireland must go back to the drawing board and fix loopholes to reduce the gulf between the two sides. After all, bowlers need breathing space to operate and targets of 170-odd do not provide much.

Skipper Andrew Balbirnie ascribed the batting debacle to temperamental incompetence but refrained from criticizing his young brigade.

"They bowled pretty well up front, we played loosely and gave away wickets. Campher played well. He adapted well to the conditions. It was a pretty old school one day kind of an innings. That's what we needed from our top five, would've then been in a good position. Harry Tector has got a big future ahead of him.", the losing captain highlighted at the post-match press conference.

Ireland should conclude that forcing the pace isn't always an efficient strategy versus high-quality attacks. Taking the hackneyed route of batsmen coming out all guns blazing will only bring them further shame. The sooner they mend their ways, the better, otherwise harsher lessons might be around the corner.

Published 31 Jul 2020, 14:39 IST
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