England begin their biggest ever summer of international cricket on Friday when they make the trip to Dublin to take on Ireland as their final preparations for the World Cup later this month get underway.
Ireland have pulled off many a surprise in the 50 over format in the last 10 years and they have a few matches coming up, both here and afterwards, where they can remind the authorities that a 10 team World Cup is a load of nonsense.
It has been a big time of it for Ireland in recent years and even though there is no World Cup for them to look forward to this summer, it is still a key period for them because later in the year they have a Test match at Lord’s for the first time in their history. There should be plenty of competition among their players to make sure they are in the travelling party for that game and even though this is a different format, international cricket is exactly that regardless of the length of match.
If there is a weakness in this Ireland side then it tends to come with the ball. They are usually pretty decent with the new ball but if the wicket doesn’t give them a little bit of help then in the middle overs they offer no trickery and can get exposed as a result. They have a decent batting line up though so a shootout certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing they can get into.
All eyes will be on England in this match. It has been a bit of a turbulent week or so for them with the Alex Hales situation but they have the chance to put that behind them out on the cricket pitch and lay down the first marker for the World Cup later in the month. If they hold any ambitions of dominating that tournament, they really have to blast their way through this match, regardless of which team they put out and what has gone before it.
We all know that they strength of this England side lies in their batting line up so the attention will probably come on their bowling attack here to see what sort of goods they are ready to deliver moving forward. England still have five ODIs and a couple of official warm up matches ahead of the tournament starting and I would imagine they will want to crank up their form from here on in but a decent performance here gives them a decent platform to build on.
Ireland will be without Stuart Thompson for this match as a shoulder injury has put paid to him. Mark Adair is expected to replace him. Josh Little could force his way in for an ODI debut for the boys in green.
England have confirmed they will be giving three ODI debuts in this match. They go to Dawid Malan, Ben Foakes and Jofra Archer with Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler rested and Jason Roy injured. Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali are also missing so James Vince and Joe Denly are expected to start too.
I expect England to win this game but I’m not sure this Ireland side are getting anywhere near enough respect with the handicap line that is available. I say that because they are in receipt of 7.5 wickets and 67.5 runs which feels like a heck of a lot this early in the season, especially when some England players have been playing in India and will have to adjust to the different conditions. If we analyse that properly, Ireland would need three wickets if they bat first and with England without both their openers that seems likely and even if England get away from them you would think they would only need 280 with the bat. I’ll take the Irish side of that handicap especially when we remember what Scotland did to England last year.
I’ll have a dabble on a top batsman for the match as well where Ben Foakes seems a little big at 12/1. There is no guarantee that he’ll get into bat but if we take him with Betway and he doesn’t bat then we’ll get our money back which is a decent incentive here. Foakes is in excellent form this summer. He has made three 50s in Surrey’s disastrous One Day Cup campaign and already has a First-class 50 this season as well. The likes of Root and Denly haven’t had much time at the crease recently and Morgan hasn’t pulled up many trees so it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Foakes gets in and top scores.
WON – Back Ireland (+7.5 wickets/67.5 runs) to beat England for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365
WON – Back B.Foakes Top England Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 with Betway