Monday, March 9, 2015

Irish Challenge for Team India

India vs Ireland at Seddon Park, Hamilton, 10th March - Match Preview

India, having won all its matches comfortably in this World Cup so far - against Pakistan in Adelaide, against South Africa at MCG and then against UAE and West Indies at WACA in Perth are perched at the top of Pool B. They will have to ensure that they win this game if they are to lock that top spot as theirs.

The Indian machine has hummed nicely but they faltered against the West Indies in a small chase until Dhoni rescued them with a gritty innings along with R Ashwin. Dhawan, after staring with a fifty and a hundred has gone off the boil while his opening partner Rohit Sharma has also has failures up until now. Kohli has got starts but he too has not gone on since his ton against Pakistan. India are in need of a solid batting performance and the small Hamilton ground and a weak Irish attack might just be the tonic that they need.

Virat Kohli will want to be in the thick of things come the knockout stage of the
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015


The Indian bowlers have, on the other hand been miserly and potent right through the tournament. With all the bowlers going at less then 5 runs per over, the bowling seems to be well polished. Shami replaced Bhuvi in the last game against West Indies and gave a Man of the Match performance, so it is difficult to see if either of Stuart Binny, Bhuvi or Akshar Patel get a game.

The Irish batting has been their strong suit so far as Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, O Brien brothers and Andy Balbirnie have all got runs. They chased down 304 to win against the West Indies and then chased down 279 against the UAE. They also got to a massive 331 against the Zimbabweans who have been a good bowling side right through the World Cup.

It is the Irish bowling that will be giving the Irish captain and their team management sleepless nights before the all important clash against India. They have leaked runs and have found it impossible to stop the hemorrhage of runs in the death overs. Against a strong Indian batting line up, on a small Kiwi ground, they will have to improve tremendously if they are to compete.

Key Battles: India vs Ireland

Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce vs Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami

The Irish Middle Order vs R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja

The task ahead of Ireland is simple, they have to win one of their next two games and they will land in to the Quarter Finals. India must win to secure their top position in Pool B and get the right to play Bangladesh (who defeated England earlier in the day to progress to the QF) in the Quarter Final.

PS - The image used is courtesy www.espncricinfo.com

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