England and Ireland meet in the second ODI of three inside the bio secure bubble that is the Ageas Bowl on Saturday where the home side will have the first chance to wrap up the series after their emphatic victory in the first game on Thursday.
Ireland won’t need telling where they went wrong in that opening match of the series so it is up to them to put it right and put in a showing that is more in line with their abilities. They have to win this to keep the series alive as there is no weather to save them.
It was a performance of two halves from England in that opening match although with the relatively little cricket their players have played going into the series I think that was to be expected. Their bowling effort was very good indeed. They had Ireland four down in no time and never really let their foot off the throat at any stage. They knew at halfway that they had kept their opponents down to a score which they would knock off.
Clearly England would have wanted a lot more from their top order and losing four wickets in such a relatively small chase will not have done much for confidence, but for a first hit in four months it can be excused. Making the same mistake again would be a concern so I would expect to see a lot better from the batsmen of England here, especially those in the top four, only James Vince of whom really got going it must be said.
Ireland will have been very disappointed with their batting display on Thursday. It should be said that their batsmen haven’t had much cricket recently and probably needed the hit but there were some naïve dismissals and it is that which would have hurt them. To be fair to their lower order, from where they were after eight overs they did well to post any sort of a score as it looked like the game would be over in a couple of hours.
Where Ireland can draw positivity and belief from that first game was with the ball. They weren’t really defending anything in terms of a total they could restrict England to but to take four scalps down with them might yet be significant moving forward. If they can stick another 100 runs onto their score and then bowl with the same quality and intensity then there might well be a competitive showing in the lower ranked side.
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England have options they can bring into the side with the likes of Reece Topley waiting to come into the ranks but it might be that they win the series before changing things. Liam Livingstone has replaced the injured Joe Denly in the squad.
Ireland will be forced into a chance with Barry McCarthy ruled out of the contest with injury. They have added Peter Chase to their squad but Josh Little is the man most likely to come into the side with Boyd Rankin ruled out.
Ireland only posted 172 batting first on Thursday but despite that there was still 36 fours in the match and I’m expecting more of those here. If England bat first then they will make sure the total rises here but I can’t believe that Ireland will bat badly again so the over 44.5 fours in the match is something that really interests me. It is only nine more than we got on Thursday and with the grass off the pitch now this should be a dream batting track.
Ireland hit 13 fours in their innings on Thursday and they batted terribly so I’m expecting more from them and then England can polish off the rest. Jonny Bairstow, Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O’Brien all failed to hit a single four on Thursday while Tom Banton only hit one and Jason Roy just two. There is so much more to come from all those men mentioned and both batting line ups in general that I refuse to believe we won’t get up to 45 fours here.
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