Coming into the Quadrangular Series being held at the Al Amerat Stadium in Oman, Ireland and Scotland were the favourites considering their recent exploits against the powerhouses of world cricket. While Ireland obtained Test status last year, Scotland defied all odds to upset the number one ranked ODI team, England, at home.
With only a handful of matches left in this brief series, Ireland will be looking for a crucial win to keep them at the top of the table, while Scotland will be content with nothing but a win over their European rivals. With another hot day in store for the two teams, who will come out on top in what promises to be an exciting match?
Squads to choose from:
Paul Stirling (C), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Shane Getkate, Joshua Little, Andy McBrine, Kevin O'Brien, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Harry Tector, Stuart Thompson, Lorcan Tucker
Kyle Coetzer (C), Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross, Ally Evans, Chris Greaves, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, George Munsey, Adrian Neill, Safyaan Sharif, Ruaidhri Smith, Hamza Tahir, Craig Wallace and Mark Watt.
Playing XI Updates:
Paul Stirling was at his best as he paved the way for a crucial win over the hosts in the first round of matches and the captain would be tempted to field the same side to sustain the winning momentum. Kevin O'Brien was decent at the top of the order and should retain his spot, with Balbirnie and Tucker following him.
Possible XI: Stirling (C), O'Brien, Balbirnie, Tucker, Poynter (WK), Getkate, Simi, Rankin, Dockrell, Chase and Little.
Despite producing a good comeback with bat and ball in the second half of either innings against the Dutch, Scotland will be pondering a few changes, with Ruaidhri Smith likely to make way for Adrien Neill. A shuffle in the batting order is also on the cards, with Calum MacLeod up for a promotion after showcasing his class with a timely fifty last time around.
Possible XI: Munsey, Coetzer(C), MacLeod, Cross(WK), Wallace, Berrington, Leask, Watt, Smith/Neill, Evans and Sharif.
Fantasy Tips and Suggestions:
Wicket-keeper: Matthew Cross has improved drastically over the last 12 months and has transformed into one of Scotland's best players. He should get the nod over Stuart Poynter, who was overlooked for the likes of Simi Singh and Getkate in the batting order last time out. The format suits Cross' skill-set as well, making him a great option in your fantasy team.
Batsmen: Paul Stirling and Calum MacLeod started the tournament with sound fifties and are must-haves in the team. Munsey was brilliant in the power play overs and along with the likes of Andy Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker, he could prove to be a handy option in the top order.
All-rounders: Kevin O'Brien's services with the ball weren't required on Wednesday, but he remains one of the most explosive batsmen in the tournament. He is one to be backed for this contest along with fellow Irishman, Simi Singh, who picked up three crucial wickets in the middle overs to dent the Omani chase. Along with the aforementioned duo, Richie Berrington could prove to be a viable option as well.
Bowlers: Safyaan Sharif and Joshua Little were very impressive on the opening day and are great selections for your fantasy team. Alasdair Evans was at his economical best against the Dutch albeit with no wickets to show for his efforts. Along with Boyd Rankin, Evans is also expected to put in a good performance with the ball on Friday.
Captain: In a short tournament, form does play an important role which makes Paul Stirling the prime candidate for captaincy again. Other options include the likes of Kevin O'Brien and Kyle Coetzer who are due for a big score come Friday.
Fantasy Suggestion #1: Matthew Cross(WK), Kyle Coetzer, Calum MacLeod, Lorcan Tucker, Richie Berrington, Kevin O'Brien, Simi Singh, Safyaan Sharif, Peter Chase and Joshua Little. Captain: Kyle Coetzer
Fantasy Suggestion #2: Matthew Cross(WK), Paul Stirling, George Munsey, Calum MacLeod, Andy Balbirnie, Kevin O'Brien, Simi Singh, Alasdair Evans, Safyaan Sharif, Boyd Rankin and Joshua Little. Captain: Paul Stirling
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