Ireland 15 man squad: W. Porterfield (captain), A. Cusack , G. Dockrell, T. Johnston, N. Jones, E Joyce, T. Murtagh, K. O’Brien, N. O’Brien, B. Rankin, P. Stirling, M. Sorensen S. Thompson, A. White , G. Wilson
Ireland are a side of decent county pro’s and domestic players. They are not a phenomenal side but definitely have spirit and some big hitting batsmen. They have upset sides in the 50 over format, but have two heavyweights in their group. An upset would be seismic, but if any side can do it It is them and if it can happen in any format it is T20. Ireland will not be looking to win the tournament, but perhaps to take their games as close as possible and ride the wave of being minnows.
T20 World cup record : P:7 W:1 WIn %:14.28% L:5 NR/T:1
Best performance: Super Eights 2009
With the bat:
Porterfield in international T20 has a SR of 116.13 SR, one fifty. He crucially has English county experience for Warwickshire regularly playing with players like Bell, Trott, Woakes and his compatriot Rankin. As the International captain, he has to show his maturity and class at the top and keep a steady ship to maintain Irish dignity so they do not crash out embarrassingly.
Opening with Porterfield will be either the newly Irish Irishman Ed Joyce or Sterling. Fresh from a minor stint with England which he scored a ODI ton against Australia, Joyce has become Irish once more. He and Porterfield are solid county players. Can they step up?
Paul Sterling has a SR of 122 and has 3 T20 Fifties to his name. As a professional cricketer for Middlesex in domestic T20 cricket his Strike rate 133.37 and he has 8 fifties. He will provide a powerful start at the top of the order, but like the others, can he give Ireland a glimmer of hope at the end of the rainbow ? (couldn’t resist)
The Surrey Keeper Gary Wilson and the Northants Keeper Niall O’Brien are also both in the squad giving yet more county experience. In county cricket they are consistent performers that will be invaluable to Ireland having faced other International cricketers in the county circuit before.
Kevin O’Brien has a SR of 97 SR and 1 fifty. He is famed for scoring the fasted ever world cup century against England (50 overs). He is a seriously big hitting batsmen and could be the engine behind an Irish upset. He has played for Somerset in their T20 campaign so clearly is thought of highly and can bowl as well.
With the ball- Seamers:
Boyd Rankin is very tall, pretty fast and gets awkward bounce. He has played for the England Lions and has aspirations of test cricket for England. This tournament will be his last appearance in fact as he will be retiring from playing for Ireland to pursue test cricket for England. He could be the strike bowler but what else do Ireland have beyond that.. That will be crucial.
Tim Murtagh is a county pro for Middlesex. He is used to opening the bowling with Steven Finn and is the accurate and canny experienced partner of the tall fast Rankin. He is not so threatening but could give control.
Trent Johnston will provide experience and wicket taking guile. He is the leading Irish T20 International wicket taker but not fast or overly threatening.
With the ball – Spinner:
George Dockrell is only 20 but captained Ireland’s U19 side and is a regular first team player for Somerset. He is picked out as a potential star of the future, perhaps with England. His left arm orthodox is economical and takes wickets. Could he occasionally open the bowling as their best bowler ?
Cool head: Kevin O’ Brien showed his ability to play astonishing cricket under serious pressure in the world cup when he smashed his hundred against England.
Possible flaw: Lack of penetration. Ireland are a side filled with good county players like Rankin, Porterfield, Nail O’brien and Dockrell but lots of lesser known and unproven players. The Big players need to pull their weight if there is to be an upset.
Prospects – A side capable of an upset for sure, They have good fast bowling and spin bowling stocks, solid top and lower order batting depth. Any further than the super eights will be a major upset but they are in the correct format to upset. They will provide exciting and passionate cricket but i don’t think they will make it to the super eights with the mighty West Indies and Australia to face up to. I hope they do though.